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2003-08-26 10:37:00

These are comments from readers that want me to go to Baghdad

More or less.


torrejón de ardoz, 27 august 2003

You know, i don´t have any cash to send you but as

soon as i make it (i am struggling to maintain a four

kid family with a business language school that i have

founded here in Madrid where unlike you i finally put

down roots but i

do want to encourage you. As a matter of fact you see

many things exactly as i see them and what you are

doing is important.

When are you coming to spain? Maybe i could lay a

little cash on you then, and surely i would be happy

to have you stay with us. I promise many of your

observations coincide with mine.

I know you don´t need to go to Baghdad and i don´t

blame you if you don´t but i wish i had your eyes and

ears there reporting back to me. The media is so

sensationalistic but you seem to have an open and

honest view of things especially as far as gageing

where peoples hearts are. That is your mission

--discern the hearts of men and tell it like it is.

Ha, ha impossible, but you don´t do too bad anyway.

Respectfully yours;

and good job O Noble Traveller of the Earth and

its Cultures Thereof,



Maybe not the best reasoning, but I would go just to say you’ve been there!

Don’t go all that way to Iraq, and get so close, and then just decide, hmmmm, no, I don’t feel like it. Or ‘it’s hard’. Just friggin do it... even if you just go for one day.

It’s not like you’re likely to ever get back there, right?

And what if it gets bombed even further to shit, and then there’s nothing there to see?

A little story...

My boss was kicked out of his house when he was 18 (in London, circa ‘65), so him and his friend bought a vw bus and drove by land from London down to the south tip of India, and took a boat to Indonesia, then Australia.

The best part of his trip was Afghanistan... he’s fairly well traveled, and said that by far it was the most amazing place he had ever been... the architecture, the people, the land, just amazing... straight out of Arabian Nights.

Since then it’s obviously been bombed to shit, it doesn’t even closely resemble what it did then. He feels incredibly lucky to have seen it when he did.

I know Baghdad is probably not amazing in that sense, but the point is that it could drastically change over the next few years, and if I were you, I’d take the time to get there and see it if only for the sake of having seen it.

You don’t seem the type to be afraid of a challenge, so whatever it takes, just freakin’ do it!

My 2 cents...



Hello Andy,

I feel you must GO. There is a truth to be told there, the hearts and minds of every day Iraqi people. We watch CNN and are told nothing of substance. The Iraqis are likely to be a beautiful people caught up in world events not of their choosing, and their views on the ongoing war are unknown, a mystery worth unraveling, a story worth discovering for yourself and for your subscribers. This will be a very different kind of travel than you are used to and perhaps will be a life changing event, or at the very least satifying.

Tell us about their culture, their religion, their family life, their educational upbringing. You may not realize you are a traveling sociologist and anthropologist.

Pleae GO.

Lisa L.


Go do what you want.

Women are a critical part of daily life. No women = depression.

Turkey = women on out and about. India = women on out and about.

Although, I can say I would have liked for you to at least visited Baghdad for a week or two (and then blast off to Turkey or India).

But, what do I know -- you gotta do what makes you happy -- life is precious remember?

And, no I don't think it is selfish to leave to make yourself happy.


BLOG what you want of this..John from Alabama


The thoughts I hear about Baghdad is that more rich people live there

and there is less acceptance of the US. I would personally like to get

your view of a couple of the Sadam Mansions. Maybe see what the

cuisine is like compared to northern Iraq. I also heard that Sadam drained a

bunch of the delta in the south of Iraq. Have you thought about going

to Kuwait? What are the Saudis thinking? How about around Iraq like

Turkmenistan or Tajikistan? Those countries are mostly Muslim and not

at war and might be pretty cheap hobo country? Do you have to go to

Turkey to get to India? If you can get to Kuwait maybe you can go on from

there. I know you can fly from Kuwait to Bombay.

Am enjoying the letters,

Jackie likes your diet,




Got to Baghdad if not for a day...why? 1. it's Baghdad 2. you'll have

difficulty accomplishing your mission in Iraq assessing the nature of

the country if you don't go to see, touch and feel Baghdad.

Maybe people are apathetic maybe because they think northern Iraq is

boring. That may turn around if you go to Baghdad increasing the risk to your

life.Sick, I know.

You may be feeling apprehensive because of the negativity you're

receivingfrom some readers.

What are they saying? Is one of them named Art, by chance? Just


Good luck making your decision. Can't wait to hear.

All the best,



Hi Andy,

Petra is in Jordan. Romans took it from the Arabs in about 100 AD and carved up (masterfully) the cave dwellings into huge Roman pillars and columns, temples and such right out of a living red rock cliff face. Something like seeing a Roman temple carved into a wallside at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Open for tourists to view, so that girl could go there, no problema. It's a big deal, like Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There's something epic like it carved into a rock wall in Egypt. Monumental. Worth searching for a pic on the Web.

I'm happy about you going (or equally not going) to Baghdad, but the question you might ask yourself is will you be kicking yourself later if you approached it but didn't go out there? Something like picking up some volcanic ash and stuffing it in a cigar tube while at Mt. St. Helens or a chunk of concrete from the Berlin Wall. Looking back and say you were a "Witness to History". It's not worth infinite crap though, so know your own mind. Just a wildhair bit at that. To possibly misquote Jack Nicholson -- it's "Bovine Residue". Oh Hey btw ! ...I think Baghdad Bob stuff would sell even better than Iraqi postcards - perhaps a cottage industry for you on eBay after you leave there. A great novelty, sell them one at a time, like hammocks. Imagine eating cornflakes from a bowl just setting on a Baghdad Bob placemat. That kind of thing. I know I may sound wacky, but I've been up all night and a skunk just sprayed someplace it smells much worse than I could possibly sound. It's affecting my reason.

You mention Paris. My sister lives in Lyon, France. Her place has a big botanical garden butting up against her back door - she even has her own gated entrance to the Gardens, even though they lock the front gates at night. She says there are lots of Arab types that suddenly showed up in the Gardens out back, just before Bush's deadline in Iraq. Flooded the place with Arabicity. Her husband is a State Dept. officer and he gives these Middle-Easterner's the Eye. He calls them "Suspects".

Damn, that Rudi Bakhtiar's looking good! You've got an eye for the ladies. 50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong. Si or no?

- Chris


Hi Andy,

...Just to let you know what is going

on. We like to keep our ducks in a row as best we can. Hot over here. We

need to know what is going on in Bagdad. Go if you can but keep yourself


Thank You,

Bill & Mary R


Hobo, how else will ordinary people ever see those parts of the world "un-edited" if you don't go.

You are our eyes and we appreciate you.



Hi Andy!

I'm reading your thoughts and travels through Irak for the last two


Most interesting for me are the pictures, well commented, and very

illustrative of whats happening there. Very good work.

About the reasons to go to Baghdag... I'm sorry that can't tell you

something convincing, all i can say is that if I were you, i will be

heading to Baghdag right now... :) I know that things are getting

dangerous, but we need witnesess about whats happenning there.

Anyway, and most important, take care... think in safety.

I know that your opinions on this war and mine are not the same, but i

think we both share the respect for these people.

Next month i will be heading to Syria, Jordan and Israel for a 3 week

trip, and was worried about security, but reading you articles and

watching your photographs, all my worries fade out... :)



David G Spain


Going to Baghdad is a tough one. Some people amy think of going there

to be a status thing where they could say, "Hey man, I've been to Baghdad",

but not enjoy any part of it at all. From what I've read Andy The

Hobotraveler has gotten a feel for the culture of Iraq both Kurdish and otherwise

and the capital may not emit the same type of culture or feel of Iraq since it

was taken by the Americans. One Reason to go would be to see if there is a

change from outside Iraq to Baghdad which there may or may not be.

Personally I would go, not for status but to see what the political and

social climate would be like compared to the rest of the country. The

capital city might very well be a totally different world inside the

country. Who really knows until it's seen with your own two eyes and

not on

CNN. I vote yes.


Vancouver, Canada



find out where saddam is hiding and interveiw him.

or better and safer ,tell solders where he is.

he could be in bagdad or in syria.


Mike Peden