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Back in Arbil

sunny

I just wanted to get back to Dohuk pronto but taxis took forever to fill up in this town. Everyone takes the Coaster but going via Bashiqa it was too dodgy a proposition for me, especially after my recent experience. Eventually I managed to persuade a taxi guy to go the safer country road via Bardarash, a longer more northerly route which I knew would cost me more. Since it was at my behest I ended up paying $20, double what everyone else paid but I was just glad to be on my way. There were numerous checkpoints, at two of which my passport was taken away. "Here we go again!" I thought but now safely back in Kurdistan there was no problem. It was a narrow and very undulating country road to Bardarash, passing through many small villages but suitably quiet in the main. Back at the trusty Diyanah Hotel I conked out upon arrival, then went to visit Ant in the evening, who saw that I was a changed man. True to form though, Ant pulled out the stops for me and produced a selection of quality whiskys retained especially for medicinal value. I helped him make a big dent in a bottle of Laphraoig, my first whisky in over 2 months and it certainly did the trick.

29th November

I was supposed to go out with Ant and the Diakonia kids on a photography project today but sadly I was pretty crook and had to give it a miss, coming down with flu I had picked up from Ishmael I feared. Again I was foiled at meeting the kids and getting suitably pestered I guessed, it would have been fun and a chance to maybe give something back too. With a visit to the atmospheric underground market we bought in a chicken dinner and despite having no mains lecky and the generator being in bits, we had a good yap over some beers in the gloom. One point of note I raised with him had been my foiled desire to visit a town about 160Ks West of us which sadly lay off the map in dodgy "southern" Iraq. It was here that the Yezidi community had their stronghold, a sect somewhat inappropriately described as being devil worshippers. They believed that Shatan (Satan) was a fallen angel who had to be appeased through prayer until he repented and took his rightful place back in heaven. It was not considered good practice to even speak his name. As faiths go its imaginative if nothing else! Though not at all apparent to me, Ant knew about them and was able to explain such strange quirks as their propensity for owning all the local booze shops and restaurants. They were darker skinned than most, always wore a certain type of cotton undergarment and bizarrely never ate lettuce. The women would wear purple headscarves but never blue. It was time to say cheerio to Ant and very simply, I couldnt thank him enough for making it all possible. Top guy.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iraq

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