Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blessed By My Ignorance?

Just spoke to India he's feeling a little better. He had caught the flu from me but it got in a much worse way. K called him from abroad yesterday and told him to tell me: "Kouss ughtek" (Your sister's pussy). I guess he didn't like my last post. K's a lot more knowledgeable about Iraqi politics than I am, so he's got the right. I should put a disclaimer in regards to anything political I post.

But it has been few days that I've been coming to terms that I have no grasp of what's going on in this country. I don't know who the players in the government are, what they're doing or their backgrounds. I don't know what's going on on the ground. I know I can't always call my classmates cowards for not showing up at college and so when I'm the only one in the class that shows up I do get the suspicion that everyone else is living in a much more dangerous Baghdad than I am. And when I do see some of them I overhear them talking about the wildest things, things that I can't say I've been a witness to. I must have the most boring life out of all the people that live in Baghdad.

Oh yes, this is so cool! I've finally got a wireless router installed in my house. I can now sit on my upstairs balcony (which is actually part of Nahida's part of the house) and type in my blog under the watchful gaze of the night stars and the noise of those annoying Americans. but seriously these jet fighters can be really annoying. A week ago I noticed that it takes a lot of time for the sound of a jet fighter because of the delay between seeing a jet fighter fly overhead and hearing it. Now I'm breaking my neck trying to spot the pain in the ass. I swear it's one plane just going round and round in circles. I've thought about writing big messages on the my roof like Keep Quiet!

Kala's got another death in the family. A stray bullet from the sky landed on his aunt when she was sitting outside in the 'Hunter's Club'. And that's what happens when people shoot into the air something that the armed forces that vagrantly continue to do so remain oblivious to. Every single one of those idiots that shoots in the air should be trialled for endangering the public.

I saw Od yesterday he had the exact same flu as me as a result of the last weekend's curfew. We had gone through the same stages at the same time throughout our bout. We were even caughing up phlegm together after we ate the chicken shawerma sandwiches I had brought with me to his house. We joked about how cute one of the little girls that lived next door was. The joke being that the good looking women are so few and far between that we've resorted to eyeing girls with bodies that have just barely begun to mature.

And just as a note, I've got no idea why saying "your sister's pussy" is a dis which has the same effect as saying "Fuck You". I think it might be a contracted way of wishing a dick goes into your sister's pussy. Arabic cursing is something special but unfortunately most of it is very hard to translate. It deserves a lot of praise but since I'm not fluent in it I can't have the honour to do it justice.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sniffle Sniffle

I've got the flu. It's glorious. Sedated the natural way.

Last Thursday my friend India took a cab to get home but unluckily for India, past half way the cab driver got scared and brought India back to mine. India ended up spending the next three nights at mine. We spent our time playing on our Nintendo DSs, watching Iraqi TV and playing Scrabble. I didn't win a single game of Scrabble with him and I know so many more words than him.

India loves watching the news, on the other hand I wasn't too enthusiastic about it. But India's commentary is always interesting. He'd point out the bias on all the channels. There's one channel that he tells me has been shut down twice or three times but it's back now repeating an old Al-Jazeera talk show dating back from a few years before the war with Muwafak Al-Rubaie and the politician that the channel sponsors. The politician goes on about how Muwafak is an Iranian pretending to be an Iraqi and that his party plans to divide Iraq and cause great bloodshed. India informed me that SCIRI and it's Badr Brigade used to interrogate and torture Iraqi POWs for the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war.

One channel had a televised open forum debate in Sadr city. With members of parliament and tribal leaders and other people from the neighbourhood. I felt sorry for one frustrated guy that admitted voting for the government that let Thursday's deaths happen.

Sadr city was a mistake to start off with. It was artificially designed in the sixties or seventies, I think to bring the poor out of rural poverty and into the city. It led to a big square with a relatively very high population density still stricken with poverty. It's name before the last war was Al-Thawra (which translates to 'The Revolution'). Was it named so by Saddam? I'm not sure, was the name suppose to hold some kind of prophecy? I hope not. When I was in school kids would talk about how they'd have tanks parked in their garages their and that even Saddam feared to mess with them.

The people in Sadr city complained that they weren't given the right to form their own security force. That they had only two hospitals and 80 ambulances. They also complained of the lack of doctors but they give doctors such a hard time. Doctors in Iraq are the least respected humans in Iraq, they get bullied by the police and people accompanying their sick. That pavements were being made and broken down to be remade again over and over again, a sign that some seriously blatant corruption is going on. I've seen that happen all over Baghdad too. Roundabouts all over the city keep getting redone.

We also saw a show about the ambulance service. There were recommendations not to move injured people and to let the ambulance service do it in a precise scientific method for fear of permanent damage. That recommendation is bound to fall on deaf ears. It's so sad.

One ambulance driver told his story of how he got attacked while picking up a patient in Adhamiya and shot in the leg by armed men despite numerous pleas.

There was another story of how when a police car that was accompanying an ambulance was trying to clear the road by shooting rounds into the air an American helicopter took it as a sign of hostility and shot back at the police car and the ambulance. In my opinion two mistakes were made before the Americans made theirs, first of all people should pull over and stop when an ambulance is on the road with its sirens on but they never do and police men should never shoot rounds into the air.

I began to get feverish a couple days ago. Feverish dreams are amazingly thrilling. That said, the dreams weren't so cool. All I've got now is runny nose, I've gone through two boxes of tissues already.

I went to college today. Not a single soul from my class showed up. I'd of thought that after being stuck at home for three days, people would be looking for any excuse to get out. But they're all too scared. It's just like a few weeks ago when Saddam's was sentenced. A curfew was imposed and when it was removed, a lot of people were too scared to go out. But it's my observation that nothing usually happens the day the curfew is removed. But I do appreciate having to go through less traffic.

Even the teacher that was supposed to teach us the first two classes of the day didn't show up. She lives further away from me, and someone told me that some roads were blocked, so I'm assuming that's why she didn't make it. So after finding out that the teacher who was going to give us the third and last class of the day had left, I decided to ditch too.

I went over to a nearby hospital to take a blood group test. An hour later the question that's been boggling me for years arrived: I'm 'A' positive.

India's mum called me telling me to tell India to stay at mine because she's been hearing that there are fake checkpoints. I called Nahida to find out that he had left fifteen minutes ago to go back to his house to charge his mobile phone. An hour passed with no word with him. It got me worried eventually he gave me a call and explained that when he got home there was no electricity at his house to charge his phone. He also mentioned that when he was approaching a checkpoint a young man was being handcuffed and put into a vehicle and at that point India thought that that was it for him. But fortunately he went through the checkpoint to make it home safely.

I was waiting for my evening classes when Nahida who'd been telling me to come back home all day said that she heard from people in the street that the curfew was going to start at three in the afternoon. I asked the guards at the school if they had heard so and they said they hadn't. A little later a cop overheard that there was a curfew at three through his radio. The guards were doubtful it was true since nothing had happened. I then called Miz, who told me that it turned out to be untrue. Soon enough the guards also said that an Iraqi television channel also said that it was untrue.

Just called a couple classmates, the first one told me she wasn't coming but that others may do, the second said he was coming and that another guy that's been up north for the past couple of weeks is coming too.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Finished The Poem

Yes I'm done, I've finally finished that dreaded poem. I haven't had the teacher correct it yet but here is what it translates to...

I walk forwards
You walk backwards
Sooner or later we'll find each other

Your hands covered in blood
My hands covered in sweat
Sooner or later we'll face each other

And in that slow moment
Paralysed by your terror
Sooner or later you'll kill me.
It looks alot smaller typed. I did steal the idea for the first stanza from a Radiohead song but it still took me all day to come up with. It is fairly depressing I have to admit. Next time I'll have to make sure I do something romantic instead.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Don't Want To Write A Poem

Just got back home. Exhausted. Nahida's upstairs on the balcony barbecuing me something to eat. She's pissed off to have found one of her flower pots smashed by a piece of flying shrapnel from a car bomb that blew up on the main street while she was out buying me a dictionary.

I've started taking evening classes again. Everybody's home by six in the evening, so having those classes end at quarter to five in a somewhat distant neighbourhood isn't too convenient. But I don't want to spend more time at home than I have to. Other people obviously don't share my opinion since we were only three people in the class. One of them is rather cute girl. I've got to write a poem now because I couldn't get it done in class. I hate writing poems.

Getting two hours of electricity a day is taking the piss. It's not as if it's so warm that everybody's running their air conditioners and it's not so cold as to need to turn on the heaters. The national consumption of electricity during this time must be at it's lowest, so why do we only get two hours of electricity. What's even stranger is that nobody is complaining.

I had the pleasure of an overly-excited cab driver on the way back. He was telling me that a phony checkpoint was set up in Haifa St making all the Sunnis to be pulled aside. The real cops showed up later and placed checkpoints around the neighbourhood trying to find the ones who made the phony checkpoint. The cab driver was telling me that things were happening all over Baghdad. But as always I was oblivious to it all.

During lunch break, there was a Kia minivan that was suspected of being a car bomb, close to my college. Iraqi EOD was there and they had the street blocked off. I never heard it go off and I don't know if they diffused it or if it turned out not to be a car bomb.

I was fifteen minutes late to get to college today. One of the roundabouts leading to my college was blocked off for no apparent reason. Luckily I was in a cab and just walked the rest of the way. As I was walking, I thought of what to say in case the teacher chose to give me attitude. But when I got to class she wasn't there. When she finally did arrive, she explained that she got lost in the side alleys after being blocked by that same roundabout that was closed off to me and that she lives even further away from my college than I do.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

News Entertainment

What a long weekend. I only have classes four days a week: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday we've only got one class at half past eight in the morning. Last Wednesday I didn't go and I don't think anybody else. But unless I've got some advantage in that class, I'm going to have make it a habit of attending that very badly timed class. Tomorrow's Sunday and it'll be the start of the second week of college.

It's been a very long and boring weekend. Forced to be at home before six in the evening and Friday's curfew doesn't help either. And despite being house bound most of the time, I've only managed to read 5 or so pages from one of my textbooks. I'll have to pick up the pace there. I'm going to have plenty of these long and boring weekends before the year is through.

So how am I keeping myself busy? I've finally sorted out all the mp3 files that I downloaded while I was in the UK. And my iPod is now good to go. I've been playing Metroid and Metroid Hunters on my Nintendo DS. And I've been trying to learn how to play a barre chord on my guitar. I've got to start taking guitar lessons, but I'm waiting one of my classmates to come back from Syria. Maybe I should just go ahead, he might never show up.

I wonder how many mugs of coffee and tea I go through a day. Whenever my mug's empty I call on Nahida to get me another. I'm not a caffeine fiend, I'm just thirsty. On the other hand, I'm back to smoking a lot. While I was in the UK, I had managed to cut down on my smoking, but I'm back to chain smoking now.

A few days ago Nahida got the downstairs satellite receiver fixed. I'm discovering that I can understand Arabic television a lot more than I had imagined. But I've still got problems understanding the news in particular. I'm always getting my digest of the news through Google news or the BBC and I'm curious to see what the Iraqi networks are saying, so I've added all the Iraqi networks to my favourites list. One of my friends jokes about how the scrolling news bar at the bottom of the screen doesn't ever repeat itself, but I can't tell because it moves too fast for me.

My biggest trouble with reading college material is my weak vocabulary. So when I read five pages or so this weekend. I must've dug out over 30 words out of the dictionary and write them down in an indexed hard covered notebook. One of the words that I jotted learnt was the word for 'loan'. So I really glad to understand one sound bite during a televised conference that mentioned that Iraq was getting a 3.5 million dollar loan from Japan to build a port.

There was some fuss about corruption in the government. Some guy was quoting a report on corruption in the government and then the committee that made the report seemed to be taking a defensive stance. There was also some guy who was saying that the government has all the information on the five thousand people that make up the 'death squads' but that the government is undecided on how to implement a plan to deal with them.

And I get the new Al-Jazeera in English. I wonder if my parents in the UK get it with their Sky subscriptions. It's fairly entertaining, I'm waiting to see them criticize some Arab leaders, that would be nice. I saw the Blair interview, he didn't say that Iraq was a disaster. Frost was asking a question and threw in the word 'disaster' at the very end just as Blair began to answer.

I'm watching the news right now. It's really good. I'm glad to see the subjects are out there and being spoken about. I just wish I could understand it all a little better. I got the dictionary next to me now, picking out the words that keep getting repeated. Well the electricity just cut off. I guess they can't have the people watching too much news, otherwise they'd find out what's going on.

Nahida is telling me that her sister said that the bank near her home got robbed by cops during the night and that all was reported on the news was that a bank got robbed with no further details.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Yesterday, I went over to Kala's house to give him my condolences about his brother-in-law to be's murder. The guy and his cousin I think were driving back from work when they were attacked and were left with two bullet wounds each, one in the neck and one in the chest. The news ofcourse hit hardest on Kala's seventeen year-old sister the one to whom the guy was engaged.

I'm against the death penalty in general to start off with. I'm against killing all together except if it's in direct self-defence. So it's been somewhat depressing to hear people call for the death of Saddam because even though the man's got the blood of thousands on his hands I don't want his blood on mine and it's even more so depressing to see such a lust for blood so widely acceptable.

Today's news of the mass kidnapping at a Ministry of Education building, got me thinking that if Saddam's ruling to be executed was justifiable by his actions, then why can't this present government be held accountable in the same way for their inaction that has also lead to countless murders and a nation living in a fear even greater than that of Saddam's?

It's suprising to me that the government can't get a better grip on it's police and other security forces. To me it's obvious that it's unwilling. For example, when driving through Baghdad you'll get cars with loud sirens with gunmen sometimes shooting live rounds in the air either dressed up as police or army and even civilian clothes force you to get out of your lane so that they may zip by. Why are civilian dressed men allowed to carry guns is beyond me. But the fact is that a member of parliament would have a security detail dressed as civilians, and that's not right.

What's worse is how these same convoy just pass drive right through the checkpoints. If the checkpoints are there then they one would think that they should be checking any vehicles that have the potential of being suspicious. And since gunmen dressed in police cars have been blatantly comitting crimes then the logical thing to do would be to have them checked at the checkpoints regularly.

I often wonder why the police and the army have to drive about so much, Saddam's police and army didn't move about this much nor did they have as many vehicles for that matter.

With all the money being spent on security in Iraq, it wouldn't be too much of a leap to have a communication network setup to have all the police/army convoys keep communication with some center so that the center may relay all relevant information prior to the convoy's arrival to a checkpoint so as to acknowledge both the convoy and the checkpoint.

I know I'm just ranting on at this point, I don't know what these checkpoints nor the police are expected to do by their superiors to be honest, as far as I can tell they just bottleneck all the traffic and the police ones hang about to pick up bribes. I just feel that things could be so much better if those in power and those on the ground would just focus and do things right.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Classes Start

Walking into uni, I was quite surprised to see the place busy with people. I headed straight over to my department. I was trying to decipher my schedule posted on the bulletin board when from the corner of my a familiar voice called out my name. Turned around and stared at the face, time nearly stood still, and the question sprinted across my mind: who the hell is this?! After some very slow nanoseconds an answer came: the girl's in my class. What's her name?... the answer didn't come and real time rushed back. And so the rest of the day was spent acknowledging to myself that I can't remember the names of the people I was speaking to.

She figured out where our class was. We peeked into the classroom and saw just the teacher sitting there on his own. The seats were covered in dust so he called the cleaning lady to come and wipe our chairs. After that was dealt with we took our seats and the teacher got all earnest and began the lesson. There was nothing for me and Zina (I heard the teacher call her by her name) to do but to start taking notes. Half way through the class two other girls appeared.

That class isn't going to be too much trouble since it's all maths. But the one that came after it was terrible. The handout that we had to buy for the class was a photocopied textbook. And when the teacher spoke, I couldn't make out half of what was being said. The man would rant on in a loud voice even though we were only 4 students and the echo in the classroom blurred the sound of his words. And for some reason he couldn't understand what I was saying. I think it requires some time for some people to adjust to my awful Arabic.

Third class was okay, we were three students this time Zina, Dudu (the one other person from my old section to show up) and Me, I'm familiar with the teacher he taught Risk Management last year. It's going to be difficult, but the format looks alot like what we had last year with him. He'd give us a list of the questions that would come in the exams. Just memorize the underlined stuff and Bob's your uncle.

I chatted to a girl today that Enie from my class had a short lived thing with last year. The poor girl's got a bad reputation, easy to get if you're outgoing. I'll try taking her out or at least get her phone number next time. Unlike all the other girls I know in college, last year she told me she wouldn't mind going off the campus. She's hoping to transfer to another uni so I better not waste my chances. And if she does get to switch that would be ideal after I get her number, that would be ideal.

On the way back, the cab driver didn't have enough change to give back to me, so I let him off. But I'm beginning to realise I need to start taking it easy on my charity. It wouldn't of been too much trouble to of walked into a shop to get the right change to give him.

I got home, had lunch and took a long nap. I'm supposed to read the first chapter of two of the books I've got, but I need to go buy a new dictionary since I left mine in the UK. Since we've started classes so late, we're now expected to read the material on our own. It takes me ten times the time to read Arabic than it would the others. What a drag. Well there's nothing to do now but play Metroid and call up some classmates to encourage them to come to class tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Woke up around mid-day. Nahida chose not to wake me up today. I was supposed to sign a right-of-attorney for the lawyer, but she couldn't get through to him. I would've like to have gone to college, but I don't think it's a big deal I didn't go although I told one of my teachers that I would show up today. I slept really late last night anyway.

So after I scoffed some basterma and eggs, I took a walk to the shops to buy a pack of cigs. And the weather was so nice, that I popped the last bit of vodka that I had lying around before I left and chilled in the garage. After I finished the vodka, I got showered and dressed, told Nahida that I was going to Kais's just to save myself from an argument. Because I was after those DS games again.

I've been asking people whether the odds and evens on the road rule is still in force, and most people told me that it wasn't. So today was an odd day and my car's even. So I'm a bit wasted and I get pulled aside twice at the checkpoints. Each time I offered to pay the fine and once I've pulled out the cash from my pocket they both asked me for ten thousand dinars (6 bucks) instead of paying the thirty thousand dinar fine.

It was four o'clock when I reached Bab-Alshargi. And the all the shops there were closed. So another day goes by and I don't have any new DS games. I spent the rest of the day at Kala's. Miz dropped me home at around seven o'clock. The street was really dark, the only person I saw was a traffic policeman at the end of the street. Miz pointed out to me that the street lights are kept off all the time now. The curfew is now at 9 o'clock, but I can't blame people for not wanting to walk about if there are no street lights.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

College Don't Want To Start

Woke up, drove to college. Not many people there. Only two other students in my class showed up. We were going to start last Sunday, but that Saddam verdict curfew stopped that from happening. And today the day that the curfew got lifted, alot of people were afraid to go out in fear that something might happen. But as far as I can tell today was a pretty normal day.

We're just a month and a half away from mid-year exams I think, and we've yet to start. And there are alot of students that have left the country and won't be attending this year. In our university the people that are in your first year are the same people that'll be sitting in the same classes with you till your last year. The only way we get new students is if people fail from the year ahead of us. I was in with the year ahead of us when I was in first year.

After hanging out at college for a while and speaking to some of the teachers. I decided to go catch a cab to Bab-Alshargi to get more DS games. So I walk up to the intersection to grab a cab but the Americans have the intersection locked down with these vehicles that they've been using alot instead of humvees, I don't know what they're called. I got yelled at along with some others and wasn't even allowed to cross to the other side.

More people would walk into the intersection trying to mind their own business some would just walk through and it made sense in the case of a couple with a little child, but others caught the Americans attention. A couple guys who were told to stop were made to stand next to me, but then they figured it'd be okay to walk back from where they came from, the American from his vehicle shot something at the guys' feet with a sling shot.

Then a woman came by and was told to stand with the two guys, me and the other by-standers. As the vehicle that had been ordering the two guys and the woman to stand still drove off the soldier on top of the vehicle blew the woman a kiss. And that pissed her and the other two guys off even more. I don't know why I found it funny.

During that ordeal the butcher had tried to call me, my meat was ready to be picked up which meant I had lost my chance to go buy DS games. So I get lost like I always do. All the streets leading from one roundabout to the other look the same to me.

So the butcher is right next to this all-time cool supermarket. And I don't know what the hell was up but they were out of so many things. After I finished my shopping and popped back to the butcher, I asked him what the deal was, but I didn't get a straight answer. It's getting really bad, it's as if we're going to through the sanctions all over again.

So then I was off to Al-Lami's which was on the way back, to get some fast food and some more shopping done. This guy's stock doesn't rely so much on specially imported stuff and therefore there wasn't much room for disappointement. I also got a chicken shawerma sandwich for me and a cheeseburger for Od. Since he's on my way back home, I thought I might as well have a bit with him. His family like mine isn't here, but he doesn't have a Nahida.

He told me that his girlfriend's parents who lives directly accross the alley from him won't let her go to her uni since it's become a shiite only uni. Later this evening I spoke to some guy who goes to the same uni, he tells me it's just a rumour and that his friend 'Omar', a very recognizable Sunni name, came to uni with him.

Well it seems to me everyone's getting way too paranoid. I mean I know shit's going down, things blowing up everywhere, scores are getting settled so on and so on. But the fear is seriously getting chronic and contaigous. The people have got to make more of an effort to lead a normal life. What really takes the biscuit was seeing a 10 year old kid walking back from school by himself. 10 year old kids are going to school for crying out loud and those schools get hit too, but they're going. But grownup university students oh noooo too scary for them.

Anyway got home, dropped the shopping off and went to see my internet man. Oh I don't want to think about that now. Long story short, I thought I had a weak signal which was my ping is so crap. Well after buying a 3 meter pipe and to replace the piece of wood I've been using as a mast for my grid and spending hours adjusting it, I realise that I had misunderstood the way the signal was measured and that I had in fact had a good signal.

But before I got the pipe, I did go see the doctor and was made aware of my own little hysteria. I don't have lyme's disease, I'm fine. The doc gave me some antibiotics and some antibiotic cream, he said if the thing on my leg don't go away in a week I should go back to him. To be honest I can barely tell it's there now.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Damn Tick

Today I went to Bab-Alshargi with Nahida. As we were approaching the main street to catch a taxi to go there we heard a not so loud but a very close-by explosion. When the mainstreet became in sight from the alley that we reached, one of the residents said that's the seventh time that an IED has been planted in that gap in the meridian.

Nahida and I decided that it would be best that we walk in the opposite direction into the alley that runs somewhat parrallel to the mainstreet, ofcourse all the traffic would be diverted that way. The cab we caught told us that it happened infront of him. He said an Iraqi Army convoy was driving by and that the IED blew after the first vehicle passed it which according to the taxi driver is why he thinks it was detonated remotely. Nobody was injured. Nahida went on to remark that it's not so much the IED that was scary but the way that the Iraqis randomly shoot afterwards. Every explosion is followed by some gunfire, the point of which I still wonder.

Another example of anti-government violence was given to me by my internet provider, who told me about the checkpoint setup at the beginning of the main street that kept being shot dead by a sniper. Several times they put up the checkpoint but they kept getting shot by the sniper. They looked for the sniper but couldn't find him. Eventually they just gave up putting a checkpoint there.

Anyway, I'm really glad I went to Bab-Alshargi today. It really helped me break that fear that people around me keep on building up. Bab-Alshargi is supposed to be dangerous but the truth is it's a very active market during the day, next to it is Betaween. Betaween is a really weird neighbourhood, it's probably one of the most densly populated parts of Baghdad. Now I can't for the life of me remember why these neighbourhoods are condsidered so dangerous.

I got a couple of games for my Nintendo DS there, I was hoping to find Tetris but with no luck. Instead I got Lego Star Wars II and Worms. Worms was a waste of money. There were a couple of other games like the Tamagotchi that I wish I had bought. I could try popping by there another day later this week. I don't why in the world I was so being so frugal. I bought Lego Star Wars II for 12 bucks! and Worms for 10. Lego Star Wars II would cost over 40 bucks in the UK.

After I got home I went to see the same dentist that I saw just before leaving 4 months ago. His clinic was closed. We asked a secretary in one of the other clinics in the building about him. The secretary told us that he hasn't showed up since Ramadhan. I've got a broken filling he told me I should have fixed, and I don't know of any other dentists that I trust. The one before him did a well botched up job.

Well there was another building filled with clinics down the street, so I at least got my teeth polished. Whether I want to get that woman to do my filling I'm not sure. She looked pretty cheap.

So the docs and dentists are on the run, how bleeding convenient... I went to Sweden in September to see Hans. So along with Kiko we went mushroom picking together. We came back covered in ticks (I had over 15 on my body). One of them got past me and stuck around sucking above my ankle for a couple of days until I accidently scratched it off. It was fat with my blood much unlike the small ones that I had plucked out the day of the mushroom picking.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that same area all swelled up after it began getting itchy but I didn't think much of it and thought it'd go away but it's not. I've just been reading about how I could possibly have Lyme's disease. And oh my gosh I'm scared, what worries me is that I don't think we have the disease here so it'd be quite exotic to the average docter. I hope Hans is okay, he had one on his balls, but he got his from wearing the same unwashed trousers he wore the day we went mushroom picking and so the tick probably didn't have the chance to infect him.

Now I've got to find a doctor to deal with this. I'm not sure what kind of doctor I should be looking for. There's this one dermatologist who's good (the only one out of 3 doctors who diagnosed my psoriasis correctly). I saw before leaving 4 months ago too, and he was all upset that day, I think his son might been kidnapped or something of the sort. I'd bet he's out of here by now too. I'm considering going to a pharmacist and just asking him for some antibiotics. Maybe I should go to Medical city with Od. My laziness really got me this time, I could have had it diagnosed and treated in the UK with peace of mind if only I wasn't so lazy.

I'm falling asleep after every meal, it's pretty annoying. I don't know what's got into me. Maybe I'm still recovering from the sleep deprivation I suffered on my way here or maybe it's the humming of the air conditioner.

I was hoping to go to college tomorrow, to at least get this year's handouts and warm up Arabic reading skills. But they had to make tomorrow a no driving day the bastards. I also need to go to the other side of town to get some shopping done. The two good convenience stores that regularly go to near my home have suffered alot. Most important of all one of them stopped stocking Starkist tuna. My fridge is so empty. This kind of decline is no good. You could take it all, but the food is sacred. There's a third shop in the neighbourhood that I never go to that should give a try now that my first two choices are so weak.

And so tomorrow I've got nothing to do, maybe I should start tidying up.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I'm back in Baghdad. Got here safely a couple of days ago. I still haven't left my neighbourhood. The electricity ain't too bad, but one would expect better considering the good weather. I'm experiencing a slight queasiness associated with the kebab I had for dinner and the nap I just woke up from. Maybe it's time to pour that my happy to be back drink. (Go to pour that drink).

The steep spiral landing into Baghdad wasn't at all as exciting as it's been made out to be. As soon as I got off the plane Nahida's sister (who works at the airport) was standing waiting for me. She took me aside from the herd handed my passport to some guy who took it to an office while the others got into the passport control queue. The man quickly brought it back stamped and I then picked up my bags. I didn't have to have my stuff checked by security either. I was out of the airport before some member of parliament who I knew looked familiar. Oh and there were no dogs. India told me not to bring any weed with me since he had heard there were dogs.

There isn't much traffic in the streets but there seem to be alot of checkpoints bottlenecking the traffic. Most of the streets coming off the main street, the ones that lead into the residential parts, were closed off with junk. To get to my house I had to take 3rd street before my own. When I had left the number of closed streets were quite few. Also maybe more than half of the shops on the street have closed down. Today the local baker got killed.

In the middle of the main street there was an intersection, but you can no longer u-turn there since they've extended the meridian barrier through the length of the street. A little further along there are two concrete checkpoints. I'm told that I should be back home before dark.

I was hoping to start college as soon as I arrived but nobody has started attending classes yet. And I'm not the going to be the one that's going to show up and wait for others to fall suit since I live the furthest away.

One rumour I've heard so far is that Al-Maliki is feeling powerless against the AlBadr Brigade and his ministers are ignoring him. So the deal is that some old leaders with troops specially trained near the Saudi border will pull off a coup d'etat. Well it sounds hopeful.

There's a traffic ban every Friday during mid-day. Friday is the big market day at Bab-alshargi, supposedly that day is now shifted to Saturday. I miss going there on a Friday. But I'll try to go there on Saturday to get myself some new Nintendo DS games for cheap. I'm praying that they have Tetris. Playing tetris online is great fun.