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Members Fly to Europe for $150 Dollars


2003-08-18 01:37:00

I took the taxi to the "Garage" as they call the bus stops in all the cities in Iraq so far.

This is really a spot on the road where the taxis congregate to find passengers.

Once a taxi has a full load it leaves.

I was having too many taxi driver that saw me as a Dollar sign bugging me.

I had to say not to 3 of them. One wanted me to pay 40 Kurdish Dinars.

Another wanted money in Saddam Dinars. It was totally hectic.

They kept saying follow me. This is not a good idea until you know the price.

I raise my hand, held my thumb, index finger, and middle finger togother,


"Parah" or money in Kurdish.

The man would not answer.

I say,

"Parah" he will not answer.

He wants to open the trunk or boot as the English call it, so he can help me put my

backpack into the trunk. I will not and he is frustrated, then tells me a price...

I just walk away... Ali Babba and trying to gouge the price.

Plus I want to share a taxi for safety.

This happens a couple of times.


The good people come out of the woodwork then and start to help.

The say to wait here.

One man buys me a PEPSI... (Send money Pepsi)

No cost and he buys. The taxi driver earlier did not want paid. I paid anyway.


A colective taxi pulls up. It has almost a full load. The man says to follow him.

He stops the taxi.

An Arab guy with a beanie and a casper outfit tries to jump in front of me and

everyone to get in the taxi. This man Grabs him and pulls him out of the taxi.

The get in a big argument. The man will not let off, and the whole group is going

to grab him to make sure I get in the taxi. This is the welcome of Iraq in a nutshell.

They want you to be happy first, we are their guest.

He makes sure the price is only 8 Kurdish dinar, and grabs the key from the driver

so I can put my backpack in the trunk. I shake the mans hand,

Touch my heart to say. "My friend"

This guy was fighting to make sure that I was welcome.

It touches me so much how happy these people are that the Americans are here.

They need more people like me to come an talk with them.

I ask an Arab boy that spoke English in the back of the taxi on the way to Erbil.

He first has said,

"I love America."

I waited a little, did not react.

I said,


He said,

"Land of the Free."

He had to get that from Television, but that is nonetheless what he said.

He was an electrical engineer that works on the Oil Rigs going to Erbil to buy

some clothes and a small vacation. Maybe 25 years old. I took photos.

Will be in newsletter.