Iraq Travel Stories, Page 18

Time to nap

To say the least. Iraq is a dry and hot place.

Great place to wash your clothes by hand.

They dry very fast. But a few hours in a crowded taxi full of men.

Air blowing in the window that feels like a hair dryer pointed at you

and the drying of my eyes has made it time to go and sleep.

Wanted to touch base with the world.

Don't worry family, friends, and Mom.

The world is a good place. I am sure.


COMMUNICATION IS OPEN WITH MEN OF LETTERS

I left Mosul to try to induce the "Men of Letters" to write me an email.

Natasha girl from the USA has been helping to coordinate.

They wrote back today.... Woopee!



This may sound strange, but getting people to email is difficult

These men are not 20. They are in their 50's.

Not on top of the internet world and to say the least.

Saddam kept that word under his thumb for the last 15 years or so.

So we have success.

Now I will return to Mosul to help them publish some articles.

Find some more people to correspond.



WEBPAGE IN THE PLANNING

I am thinking, and working with Natasha to help them get their own

page to be a voice to the world.

Donations are helpful at this point.



I have a lot on my plate, and will need some help.

I am sure the Iraqi people in the USA will help.


SOON BACK TO MOSUL

I will go to Mosul again.

Probably stay for 4 days. I really do not know.

Then to Tikrit if possible. Then to Baghdad.


LARGE FLAME NORTH OF KIRKUK

One reason I wanted to stop at Kirkuk is to check out the big fire that was shooting in the air.

I had taken photo of it the day before on the way to Sulamani.

It looked like one of them oil well on fire, but who knows?


MAN FIGHTS TO HELP ME AT BUS STOP IN KIRKUK

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,

Said,

"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.



I AM ADOPTED

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.



THE FIGHT

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,

"Why?"

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.


BACK IN ERBIL NOW

I first went to Kirkuk. There was some form of new on BBC about a pipeline being blown up in the area.

The taxi driver in Kirkuk took me to a very expensive hotel. 35 Dollars a night U.S.

He spoke a enough English to finally say, that the bomb explode on the road between Kirkuk and Belgie.

It was suppose to be 60 kilometers from Kirkuk.

So I opted to come on to Erbil. It was still early in the day.

Kirkuk is a mixed town. Arabs and Kurdish. I have the one Hotel business card and will post a photo of it soon.

The taxi driver said that the "Saddam Regime" was in Kirkuk.

There is nobody that like Saddam. Even the Arabs in that share the colective taxi with me do not like Saddam.

But there is a mafia like association obviously that helps Saddam. A dictatorship is more like a mafia then a

government. Better to understand it in this manner. They work under fear, and manipulation.

Unfortunately the world press always put it under some social cause.



The world press is always saying there is a rebellion or civil war in Colombia.

This is total bullshit. It is just the Coca business trying to keep out the press and

world powers so their Mafia can run their business.


SATELLITE CONNECTION IN SULAMANI

I do not like Satellite connections.

Sometimes they work good, and other times they just glich up all the photos and make stop spots on the hard drive.

I was on the Island of Koh Pha Ngan when used the first... (Thailand)

No the first was in Corico, Bolivia, but that really sucked.

Nonetheless, I am on another and it is bad.


HUMANITARIAN PACKAGES 60 CENTS US

Look what I found in the market at Erbil, Iraq.

A guy selling lots of Humanitarian packages.

I have no idea why the people around Erbil need them?

I ate the peanut butter and crackers.

The raisins, and 2 oatmeal cookies and heaved the rest.

I took photos, and soon will post. Subscribe to newsletter above.

I send all the links for each week in one place in the newsletter. Easier.

These guys here in Erbil probably do not want to get peanut butter on the

seats of their Mercedes or BMW's. This place is like Dohuk, full of Mercedes and BMW's.

THE PHOTO WILL HAVE TO WAIT TIL TOMMORROW - BAD CONNECTION