Sofa Surf, House Sit, Meet Friends



2003-08-09 04:20:00

I left to take a taxi from Dohuk to Mosul. The owner of this pharmacy thought it was better I take a bus, and cheaper. Sounded good to me so I went to what he called a "Garage" by taxi. It was bus stop that take middle size buses to Mosul. I had lots of fun and soon you will see lots of photos. I promise. I have all the photos ready, but forgot to bring them.

I paid the driver 10 Kurdish Dinar extra or maybe 1.25 and he took me to the Ninewah Palace Hotel. There are 2 of them. One that is very big I think and in probably the newest part of the city. I am not sure. But it is full of coalition forces, so I did not want to go there because it is probably full and very expensive. I go to the Ninewah Palace and they said,
"No single, only Suites"
I ask,
"How much?"
Looking at his eyes, I smelled bullshit.
I stood around and made everyone wait for me.
He had said the single room was 16 and the Suite was 100 dollars.
I gibber jabbered with the guy. He was not friendly. More of the I cannot be bother with poor people attitude.

Soon they find a single. Duh...Really. Your kidding me.
Normal crap in hotels. But normal.
This is suppose to have some Stars.
I looked at the room. On the lower end of Hotel 6.
But I did see a couple of Foreigners or western type people sittting around.

I then learned that he had 60 and not 16.
The sounds get clarified and this is said slightly confusing.
I will not pay for anything unless I write it down on paper, or first hold up the correct amount of money.

I thought 16 dollars was very possible, becuase the guy in Dohuk that recommended
the hotel said the price was 20. It may and I think it probably is for Arabs or Kurdish or any other names you can come up
with for people that live here.

The guy was getting frustrated wth me.
This is good.
This is how it works.
I am sure that on my forehead is a DOLLAR SIGN.
He is looking right at this DOLLAR SIGN.

I ask him,
"Are there other Hotel?"
Implying, safe and close.
He says or mumble, does not help.
The one in Dohuk were helpful.

MY Big FRIEND and sometime called "Donkey" by his friends
was waiting and trying very hard to help. He was willing to
take this small bus around Mosul like a taxi to help.
Very good guy. But just a Joe Blow guy and not rich.
But he wants me to like his country and be safe.
The reception guy wants the buck.
He is not going to budge on price and either am I.

I do not have a plan B, but it sounds good.
I look over at the Gringos. I cannot help but use this term.
Only way to describe so far. I will learn the local nickname for us.

There is an attractive woman and a Britich guy.
They both are having a drink and talking.
I say,
"Excuse me, I am from American and need a room."
The girl says she is going to Arbil and doe not know.
...(So much for sharing rooms.)
The Brit looks a little confuse, old, and one of them Britich types
that forgets to go home.
She recommend Arbil.
"The 4 Candles Hotel."
I take out my index cards and pen and write this down.
No time to lose a good tip.

She looks over at this Middle East guy. I do not know what to call them
I can not tell the difference that easily between Kurdish, Arabic, and others.
The beads in their hands give away the Moslems. But of no value in saying
from what brainwash they are from.

The nice Middle Eastern man is helpful.
She is talking Arabic with him, and I think to myself,
"I need some more time here ti find a guide.. hehehe)

He tell me...oops. He does not tell me, he writes down on my index cards
in Arabic that looks to me like a bird walked accross the address of a Hotel.
I put a little Arrow on the top, so I will not try to show to people upside down.

UP pops a taxi driver.
Lets go he says.
I look at MY big FRIEND.... a.k.a Donkey.
I trust him. He nod his head. I give more money to him.
He is special.

I look at the taxi driver.
"How much?"
Holding together my 2 fingers like I am holding money.
He looks.
Says nothing.
I look.
I say nothing,
He looks.
I raise my hands, shrug my shoulders.
He says in English,
"10 Dinar"
I say,
He nods his head.

We leave, and I forgot to grab my guide.
(She speaks Arabic.)
I say goodbye to all, the reception guys have
totallly forgotten to smile the whole time I am there.
The new Taxi driver is great.
Friendly and wants to talk English, or practice.

He takes me to this different Hotel.
Makes sure that I have a room.
It cost 6 Dollars a night.
The whole entrance area is SOLID MARBLE.
Make the other hotel look like a Holiday Inn.

The new hotel is on a very busy street.
Full of people, chicken, and noise.
The hotel is quiet. I am home.
Fan in the middle of ceiling a light.
Television in Arabic and a squat toilet.
I am debating if the rooms are air conditioned.
I think they are when the air catches up with the heat.

A man at the desk speak great English.
We walked over later to get some chicken.
I am a meat eater.
Go figure?

I had a very beautiful girl in the Playtypus Hostel
in Bogota, Colombia,
"You eat too much red meat."
Never understood exactly, but I get the idea.

I am in a much better place.
They apologize for the location.
I say,
"I came to visit the Iraqi people,
I did not come to visit a hotel full of Americans."
or worse yet... Journalist. Lying to make a living.
Life is good.
I got my pages published.

And tommorrow photos.
If all the good Gods of the Universe help
and I remember to bring the disk.
I forgot the one disk today.

OH yea. I have published the photos.

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