Iraq Travel Stories, Page 36


I am finally thinking about the real problems of travel. How to get there? Transportation in a country. The immediate crossing of the border has been at the forefront of my brain. Now I am realizing. I must cross the next country. How? By Taxi? By Car? By Colectivo Taxi? By Bus?

My choice is bus. I do not ever like the other options, and an airplane does not see and feel the country.

A bus is safe because they would normally have to disrupt the whole bus to cause a problem.

Plus I meet normal people going to where the go. This is great. A happenstance meeting of culture and not because I went a tourist locations. I find some of my best friends like the man that gave me the prayers beads. This is always pleasant. Maybe some of you think to ride the bus is to slum it, but in reality it the safest transportation. Renting a car is the most dangerous. You are isolated and the police or criminals can separate you from anyone and abuse or kill. Hard to do with a whole bus load of people.

But there is suppose to be a breakdown of the infrastructure in Iraq. Does this include the bus?

I am thinking that they have the most trouble with salaries. I am not sure that is infrastructure.

Painful yes, but that is another type of issue. People are going and coming from Iraq.

The man from Baghdad said to take the large air conditioned buses. They are the safest.

So if I understood him correctly. Once I cross the boder, I will change in Dohuk to traveling by large commercial bus companies. If they have a toilet and movies then I will have also other opinions.

Being bombed is not to say that before they were bombed that they did not have very high level of road, electricity, water, and other services.


I played basketball when I was younger.

I remember my coach jumping from the bleacher and running to me saying,

"Do not force the play!"

He was my 8th grade coach.

I have never forgot this, and know that patience is important.

Most travelers feel a need to see or go fast. Like the world will miss them. Like there is a better place ahead. This is dangerous and childish at the same time, saying in reality.

"I want what I want, and I want it now."

I could probably move 5 time faster, and am probably more equipped then the normal traveler. But what is the goal. To be where quickly. I want to enjoy this sojourn and not feel like I am working. I am having fun, and being a child in a good way.

I do not force the play to happen, I wait for the good life to come to me... hehehe

Life is good.


My friend Gazafer form Ankara, Turkey is leaving today. I can already feel the language crunch. He has helped me immensely to translate. But the great part is my Kurdish will increase dramatically. This is always the problem with hanging around with English speaking people. It does not prepare you for the real country. Its an illusion of safety and control.


I keep getting this gut level feeling that the Kurdish Iraq side of border is richer then the Turkey side. The locals keep saying,

"You can buy that on the Iraq side."


My plan now is to leave on Sunday morning for Dohuk. It is very close. Only about 2 hours from here, but as with all border the flavor will probably change rapidly. Borders are not just country borders, but normally a culture border. This will not be so abrupt, because there is a Kurdish camaraderie and not a great separation. I believe now that to go into the Kurdish area is probably less dangerous than my travels in the country of Colombia. Plus so far the Kurdish culture is a higher level of civilization or development than most the developing countries I visit. I consider the Kurdish or Turkish cultures similar to Belgium or most of Central Europe. The quality of home is different but the people are similar, and maybe more optimistic in their family relationship. They are having large family while most of Europe now is doing anything they can to induce the indigenous people to have children.


My friend from Baghdad explained to me.

The people of Iraq will not be happy until they have money, food, electricity and shelter. As always in life people want someone to take care of them. President John F. Kennedy said,

“It is not what your country can do for you,

It is what you can do for your country.”

The world has turned this around. It is always now,

There is almost never the best way. How can WE work together. There is a constant we against them. I believe this a byproduct of world press organizations. In the Bible one of the greatest of all sins is to cause “disharmony” among between people.


The World had an extreme misconception. They believe that people from the USA are everywhere in the world. The reason for this misconception is easy. The USA is the default culture classification. If a local person does not know where the person is form, then they label them as the USA.

What does that mean for my travels?

I as a person from the USA represent a 1 in 20 ratio. I am a minority as a citizen of the USA.

I am almost always the only person from the USA.

Well… Right now there are no travelers or tourist. Only me and this is great. I do not have to listen to any of the European noise , and on the other side. The Kurdish or Iraq people I meet love Americans. So in this area of the world life is extremely hospital and generous.


My Taxi driver has decided to not go tommorrow. I am not sure I will wait for him. Zaho is les than 24 Kilometers from here. He says he will go on Sunday or Monday. Not good to wait for a Taxi drivers. They are right up there with Car Saleman and Reporters in reputation.