Saturday, September 11, 2004

I’m Back (part 1)

Hello everyone, I’m back again. I missed you all and I missed my blog too much.
It was a wonderful trip. I never felt fresh like this for a very long time.
These are the details of my journey:
We went to a place called Qashqoly it is about 50 km from Sulaimaniya which is a bout 400 km to the north of Baghdad. We went by our car with some other relatives but it was a long journey, we spent about 6 hours till we got there because the road was a narrow two way road and we could not drive very fast. the resort we stayed in is a new one opened a few months ago. It has a very beautiful view that looks over the river which is the outlet of the Dokan dam (Dokan dam is about 1 km from the place we settled in) and surrounded by high mountains. I took a lot of pictures and you can see some of them below. Everything there was quite, no gun shots, no bombs and nothing disturbed the silence we had. I used to put a chair near the river and sit there looking at the wonderful view and for the first time I felt free, free from everything.
When we entered Kurdistan I frankly felt strange from my country, I know they had separated from my country for more than 10 years, but I thought they returned back after Baghdad’s fall. They had their own flag and some ministries started to put the Iraqi flag besides the Kurds flags. I wished they put the Iraqi flag only.
Kurdistan is divided into two sections one belongs to Masood Al-Barazani and the other to Jalal AL-Talbani. AL-Sulaimaniya and the places around it are under Al-Talabani’s government.
We went to Sulaimaniya the second day of our arrival, I had never seen the city before and it was beautiful and modern. The construction movement is moving rapidly there, I think with the next two years the city will completely change. Women are having a great participate in the their city, for the first time in Iraq I saw policewomen in the streets and I saw a soldier woman driving a military vehicle. I was very proud of them at least some Iraqi women succeeded in making something to their country. Women in the north are more liberated than the other parts of Iraq. They move freely alone in the streets, restaurants and their dresses are more fashionable (I’m talking about women in the city of Sulaimaniya).

The first problem we faced was the language. The only language they talk with is Kurdish. Very few people speak Arabic (only older people). I think this is a crime made by Kurdish government not teaching their people Arabic language, their tourism is depending largely on Iraqis and Arabs as well, they have only two Kurds channel on TV while we have more than 100 Arabic channels on TV. Anyway the Kurds people are very peaceful.
We went to Dokan Dam as well on the second day but it was very neglected so we stayed there for only 15 minutes.
The second problem was the food. The first day of our arrival we asked about a good restaurant near our resort and there was only one restaurant near the place we settled in, but the food was so bad that almost no one could eat it. You could not see a restaurant serve more than the tradition food which is (kabab and tuka) so if it is good you will eat it if not you will stay hungry.
When we went to Sulaimaniaya we asked if there is a Rest. that serves other things beside the kabab and tuka and there was an Iranian Rest. The food was good. on our way back we found a take away Rest. So we thought of buying some sandwiches for dinner. The Rest. you will see in the picture is not McDonald but the owner benefited from the trade mark of that Rest. and named it madonal. To our surprise, he did not have hamburger then so we ordered some pizza, other sandwiches, and some salads; but they all were very bad. they don’t know how to make different kind of salads except the ordinary one which is tomato and cucumber .
The third day we went to Shaqlawa which is about one hour and a half from the place we lived in. Shaqlawa belongs to Al-barazani Gov. We went to their markets and stayed there only for an hour, then we decided to go to Bekhal falls and it’s about another 2 hours by car, the road was scary we had to drive up and down the mountains, the view was great. It was a great trip but very tiring. When I arrived home I was almost going to faint so I slept early that day.
The third day we decided to stay at home, we were very tired from Bekhal. we had a wonderful day, and there was a wedding party just across the river. I sat near the river watching the Kurdish dabka (dance), I can’t describe that moment to you. I have not felt relaxed like this. The Kurds like to dance and have fun a lot. I usually sit every day and watch the other part of the river were people used to come and start to dance (dabka) and sing till sun sets. I really envy them for the spirit they have. once I was sitting with my husband and we were wondering if the nature of the land affects the nature of the people living in it. I think it has a great effect. People living in deserts have different behaviors than the people living in the city.
The fourth day we decided to visit the center of Sulaimaniya city were the old and traditional markets. We had a nice time but also the problem was the language. When we want to read the signs we had to read the English ones if there were one. We talk to the cashier in English to make her understand what we wanted, but most of them don’t speak English.
We decided to stay another day at our house this time we decided to have fish at lunch, the men went to the market and bought a very big fish and cooked it in a special ‘fish’ oven. It was the best fish I had ever eaten. I don’t know why? Maybe because it was fresh or the place or maybe because I was feeling different. The trip has come to an end, we returned on Thursday and I felt sick that day maybe because I did not want to return to this bloody life that I had to live with everyday. I heard a lot of bad news since I came I wished I was born in the north instead of Baghdad at least I can sit alone and meditate around me and forget all the sadness we have.

Wait for another post taking about other things I noticed in my trip to the north and my point of view.

You can see some pictures that I've taken at http://photos.yahoo.com/rosebaghdad


PS
I have just read your comments today about my career. I'm in an internet café right now so I will read them carefully at home. From the first reading, they contain many good ideas that might be a good start for me. There are also some ideas I could not benefit from now because of the bad circumstances we have. Thank you all for the time you had spent. You had been a great help for me. I will tell you what I shall do after reading them carefully and study all the circumstances around me, and try to answer some of your questions.

52 Comments:

Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Those are beautiful pictures - thank you for sharing them with us. I'm glad to hear your vacation was enjoyable.

I can relate to the whole issue of Kurdistan separateness. I myself am from Canada: we have one province there named Quebec, where they speak a different language (French) and where many people want to split off and form a separate country. Personally, I love Quebec and enjoy going there, and I would hate to see them leave Canada.

Shawn.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Rose, glad you are back safely and your vacation sounds wonderful (except for the bad food!) Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures. Did your little girl get to play in the waterfalls?

I pray every day for Iraq and for things to get better soon. Love and Peace,

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To Michelle Therese:
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Blogger Andrea said...

The pictures are beautiful! It looks like you had a wonderful time!

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Blogger Scarab01 said...

Rose,

What a beautiful place. The resort food situation sounds just like resort food in the USA. Most of it is awful and overpriced. I think resorts are just that way. I am glad you had a good time. I also like your writing and the thoughts you provoke and cause us to try and understand.

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