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Arbil to Sulimaniye (at least that was the plan!)


Felafel for brekkie was a nice change. Heading for Sulimaniye, again the bus was quicker to fill up than the adjacent taxis and I reckoned that the Coaster might also afford a little more protection and anonymity. It was a worry because there was only one road to Sulimaniye and it passed by the outskirts of dodgy Kirkuk. Listening to all available advice I had been sufficiently reassured that it was safe, even according to the bus guys it was "Chuneenuh", no problem. But then they would say that, they wanted my custom. We left with everyone to a man chomping on sunflower seeds and then spitting out the husk, you saw it lying on the ground everywhere in this country, they didnt give a stuff. We passed the roadstop Tourism and Life Restaurant, hopefully the 2 always went together I pondered. After a junction right indicated for Pirde, I started to see a series of imposing fortress like complexes, square planned with a round tower on each corner in almost medieval style, they had a thousand and one tiny square windows in rows and looked just like the kind of place you might end up in if you were a political prisoner under Saddam. Some were in ruins but it was hard to say if they had been bombed. Just to set the scene completely, 2 Blackhawk helicopters throbbed past and I saw USA dobbed on the side of outbuildings, it was now a scorching plain. Upon approaching Kirkuk I would say I was alert as much as concerned, the bus took the slip road for the flyover and turned left as expected at the first sign of buildings, it was here that I expected to be on the way out again away from the city towards Sulimaniye. The advancing road however was certainly suburban, with the usual array of grubby car workshops and cottage industries found in any other regional town, we passed by a couple of side streets and then took a left at a roundabout. We turned left OK but the bus then pulled up at a corner, we had been stopped as a random spot check by the police. The Sergeant took one look at me and beckoned me off the bus.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iraq

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