3000 Words And No Pictures About A Visa Run Between Iraq And Turkey…

Eventually we arrive at a room, on the door of which is written: Residency Office and in which sit two men, smoking – they take my little piece of paper and give it a jolly good stamping. Then they ask me how I am, in English. I delightedly reply that I am fantastic, but wondering whether this is in fact anything to do with the Turkish border or have I just applied for some sort of Iraqi residency? Unable or unwilling to shed any light on this matter, which they make clear is of no interest whatsoever to them, they peruse my (British) passport and offer me an almond.

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Driving across the Nineveh Plain on the first sunny day in weeks. Emerald green everywhere, like drinking a colour. There’s still snow on the mountain tops fringing this huge expanse of low flat. Signs of conflict are everywhere. The road is broken sporadically by haphazardly strewn concrete crash barriers, pushed apart to let vehicles use the road now that this is no longer close to the fighting. Many are pockmarked, split and crumbling in parts. Now a handy perch for the smiling children sitting atop them, swinging their legs and hawking sodas and bottled water, their usage has morphed into something more benign. Continue reading “3000 Words And No Pictures About A Visa Run Between Iraq And Turkey…”

Stuff Around Town

…the place is like a sort of smoke infused town hall of gargantuan proportion, gridded with tables and chairs. Waiters trip nimbly around, distributing small bowls of almonds and ice, and the best baba ganoush I’ve ever had the fortune to stumble upon. There is a constant hum of Kurdish/Arabic/Journalist and the place is slightly prone to bouts of Bingo. All in all it’s bloody marvellous…

The weather so far has been mostly either gorgeous clear blue skies and sunshine, about 19/20 degrees, or it’s been pissing down. I have to put that bit in because I’m English and some stereotypes are hard to put down. Continue reading “Stuff Around Town”

Getting To Know Iraqi Kurdistan

Driving down the (fully paved, two lane) road between Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, 4 turkies and a rooster in the boot and Ed Sheeran on the sound system, the mountains growing in both height and craggyness the further we go and the rain getting harder and harder, it’s difficult to remember I’m in Iraq. Continue reading “Getting To Know Iraqi Kurdistan”