A Travellerspoint blog

Still in Arbil


It was farewell to Ishmael this morning since he had been invited to stay with his family, and now more streetwise, I was moving to another cheaper grungier joint by the bazaar, right opposite the Citadel entrance. The first dodgy fleapit I tried wouldnt take me as a foreigner, it was the first time I had been knocked back by a hotel. Other similar Asiatic quirks were now becoming more apparent too. Food hygiene was notably more dubious, customer service or rather the lack of it was shite, litter was strewn everywhere and the locals also loved to indulge in the sport of repeatedly wetting the pavement and shoveling the shite from one corner to another and back again on a regualar basis, pointless. In an effort to keep the dust at bay, all it did was create mud, and mud stuck. Out to the museum again for another try and it was still shut, I was left wondering if it ever opened at all. After a long session on the net I met my dormitory roommate, a young Iraqi Arab who had fled his home town of Baqubah due to the severe fighting there and was now searching for a way out. Ostensibly looking for work in Arbil, I could tell he had his real hopes pinned on Europe. He was a dentist and had fair English, I tried to convince him that Europe was a non-starter but recommended Australia. Back up at the Citadel that evening it was a wonder that it had been retained in its present state. With just the short main traffic free drag connecting the 2 opposing gates, it was populated by very ramshackle houses which amounted to little more than shacks, connected by narrow mud-lined alleyways. Any other place and it would have either been a tourist trap full of carpet shops, or the bustling heart of the city itself. Beyond the Textile Museum I tried again to check out the neighbouring mansions, finding one given over to a fascinating antiques shop and the other reputedly a tea shop. Ant had told me a French guy lived here but with little sign of life I let it be.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iraq

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