JJ TO THE RESCUE - GREAT ADVICE ON HOTELS IN BAGHDAD
The Palestine and Sheraton Hotels are the HQ for all the journalists;
they're right across the street from each other and awesomely defended
(with tanks). The Palestine is $60/night.
But right across from and behind the Palestine is the Al-Fanar on
Abu-Nawas street, which is your best bet. $20/night, breakfast and dinner
included. Rooms available, don't worry about it. Ask the cab driver for the
He should know right off where it is. If he doesn't, ask for the
Palestine or Sheraton, get inside the security cordon there (you don't
have to be a guest of the hotel), and ask for directions (it's less than a
block, and within sight of the security perimeter, so you should be ok.) On
the totally remote chance the Al-Fanar is full, they're very helpful and
can help you find other places. I know there are a couple hotels next
Is it safe to walk around? Well, sort of. Most business shuts down
around 4 or 5pm since that's when the "ali babas" come out, and it's not safe
after that time. Mornings and early afternoons are the safest time of the
Try to arrive then, but the streets bordering the Palestine/Sheraton
compound aren't too bad any time of day (except for aggressive begging
kids). I've walked through a couple areas that, I would find out later,
"no-go" areas. I think they were shocked to see a Westerner walking
alone without an escort or convoy--I made sure not to go back that way
though, on the off chance someone got the courage to try something.
Traffic here is complete disarray--try to get some pictures of it on
your way in. People going the wrong way up freeway onramps, every
intersection is jammed, etc.
Thanks from HoboTraveler.com JJ.