Monday, February 28, 2005

Toilet Troubles

Early morning, and I've yet to go to sleep. I wish I could just leave the TV and close my eyes and try to doze off. But I can't do that because I'm using the electric generator which I have to turn off before I go to sleep. And it's not that I'm scared of the dark, but I get anxious and the complaining about the electricity routine starts running through my mind along with the all the other things I usually complaining to myself about.

Nahida has been moody ever since I got back. I hope she stays like that, I can't stand her most of the time when she's perky. Her brother got sent to jail by the Americans shortly after I left to Lebanon. Her sister was here a couple of days ago. He's allowed a 55 minute visit once a week. He's being kept in a tent in Baghdad Int. Airport or what I think is referred to as the red zone. Or is the red zone all that's not the greenzone. Or maybe there's no red zone and I just made that up. It's a big place from what I hear. Some guy told the americans that he makes car bombs. And just because some dude accused him of that, the americans took him. His sister says that it gets very cold at night where he stays. I'll ask him what it was like after he gets out. Now I'm going to watch south park.

I once spent a few days in an iraqi jail. It wasn't traumatising, I think everybody around me was bribed. Nahida brought me my meals every day. When I got sent there I was very drunk and woke up with a terrible hang-over. Those were the days I used to pop 4 prozacs a day and get drunk off whiskey. It's lame, how far I have to go to learn a lesson. Anyway, that following morning, I puked my guts out in the toilet and then wanted to take a dump, but the toilets weren't your regular stools. Nope it had to be... the dreaded hole in the ground deal. Uptil then I had somehow avoided making use of them. So with a full fledged hangover and my pants pulled down I crouched above the unflushable hole and missed some. I actually shat on my pants. A year later, I had to make use of one of those toilets again in a mosque in Kurdistan near the turkish border. It was a nice place beside a clear river.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Finally found my lighter

These nicotine patches seemed to work in the beginning, but now I'm having my doubts. Maybe it's because of the cheap cigarettes that contain really nasty additives made in a place with no regulatory body supervises.

Fozzy went to the farm while I was out this morning, I thought my dad, nahida and I were going to go back with him. What I'm wondering is whether I would've gone with him had I had the chance. I really have to go there. There's no reason why I should stay here in Baghdad.

A couple of days ago I heard that barbers have been threatened if they use their hair plucking with a string technique. The consequences of such a threat involves the barber's shop getting blown up. They use the technique to remove the upper cheak of a man's beard, I tried once a long time ago and it's really painful, so painful I couldn't let the barber finish off.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Yagga Yagga Yagga

The day after my last post we left to Baghdad again. It was a smooth trip on the whole, meaning we didn't spend hours without moving. But as we approached Fallujah which is on the way to Baghdad, a large convoy of lorrys accompanied by US forces were getting onto the highway and we had to stop for over half an hour till they all got on. We then continued to follow the convoy at half the speed we usually travel for the remainder of the way to Baghdad, by the time the convoy got out of our way, it had bottle-necked all the traffic coming from Syria into one big convoy of it's own. Several of the roads leading into Baghdad were closed and after going in circles for a little bit we eventually started the rest of our own convoy into some place we didn't recognize. It was about 9pm and the there wasn't a person in sight. All the lights in the streets were off and all the shops were closed. Which reminded me of a time when Baghdad used to stay alive till midnight and made me wonder when will things go back to normal. We eventually got dropped off home, barely able to recognize my own main street in mansour because of the dark.

Now I've been here for 10 days. The novelty of coming back home wore off with a day or two. I've already created a routine for myself, involving waking up late, watching tv, and going to sleep late.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Viva La Nicotine Patch

At around 10 am on the 6th of February, with a nicotine patch on my back, my dad and I standing at Bath Spa Coach Station, waiting for the 403 National Express service to Heathrow. A couple hours later and a couple of hours early for our flight we arrived at the airport. After the metal detectors, a passport control guy took a look at my passport, asked me where I was heading, I told him that I was on my way to Baghdad. In turn, he said 'that's a dodgy place to go' and asked if it is as it seems on tv. I'm still unsure whether he's implying that it is I or Baghdad that is dodgy.

Since my return from London, I've had a cold and have been having trouble with my left ear. It's blocked. But that was just annoying since I had to sometimes tell my dad to speak louder so that I can hear him sometimes, until, the plane had to land and the pain in my ears from the change of pressure was multiplied by ten. The lay-over in Athens was only 2 hours for which
I'm grateful, since on the way to the UK it was something like 6 hours.

I arrive in our cheap hotel on Hamra St. in Beirut and sleep for 24 hours. Get out of bed and finally leave the hotel room to get something to eat at around 3 am. Later that day, we a cab picks up to take us to Damascus. We would've preferred to leave at night, but snow on the roads would've meant that the roads would've been closed.

10pm we leave Sayadet Zeineb in a cab that had no heating and instead blankets which we were to use while waiting in the queue outside the iraqi borders in no man's land. The Iraqi borders usually open at 7 am which is a real inconvenience, since it creates a very tight time window through which to travel since it's dangerous to make the last stretch of the trip which passes through Fallujah and Ramadi at night. Thus causing alot of congestion at the time the borders open. And as a result of this congestion you'd be lucky to make it to Baghdad that same day.

I woke up at around 11 am, and it seemed we hadn't moved at all since we queued up 7 hours ago. The borders had remained closed while I was asleep. And we were told that they were to remain closed for 5 days. We stuck around for a few more hours just in case the border folk change their mind. But after all the cars in the queue had left so did we.

Upon returning to Damascus dad took us to a hotel that he had used to stay at when he was a little kid with my grandpa in the center of town called Hotel Omar Khayyam, but in grandpa's days it used to be called something like the Omayyid Hotel I think.

I've just taken my first walk through Damascus. Which I'm glad I've done since this is the 4th time I've passed through this city. Now I know there's nothing to see, and I want to go home. Tomorrow I might be off to Amman and wait it out there, it all depends on Dad I guess.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Little City Me Don't Like The Big City

London wasn't that great of an experience, did alot of drugs the night I got there. Daddy and Mummy wouldn't be proud. Cocaine, ecstasy, hash, and Stella beer, which they claim is responsible for men beating up their wives. Did have the oppurtunity to go with Dan's friends to a club called The Egg. But Dan didn't want to go probably because he was all smashed up. And I didn't go alone with his dodgy friends and also because I was well smashed up too.

The next day I went to see Hansie and Kiko, they had partied the night before and finished all their cash, the bastards. They picked me up from the tube station with a box of beer, and promise of spicy chicken later tonight. 2 nights later we dined with Maha in a Ethiopian restaurant near King's Cross Train Station. Hans was at the station way ahead of all of us. I thought I was late when I arrived an hour after the rendez-vous time, but was still ahead of the Maha and Kiko. Hans dragged me with him to the public library to see the Magna Carta and a copy of the Gutemburg Bible.

The food that night was pretty cool but I had begun to lose my appetite as I was beginning to get a really cruel cold (which I still have till today). We all but Kiko drank a big load of Ethiopian coffee, which we later found out to be called Crack-Coffee, because it us all up except for Kiko all night. The next day, I helped Kiko move some of his stuff out of Hans's and into his new place, that ended up taking all day, alot more than I had expected. Hans spent that whole time at home. After a last meal of spicey chicken I left the guys and made my way back home to Bath.