Thursday, August 16, 2007


I live in a shell, oblivious to what's going on outside. The shell has cracks and when I get the time I fill in the gaps. Being at the farm gave me a lot of time to fill in those gaps and now I'm back in Baghdad the gaps are reappearing. Yesterday, I wanted to go to Sana'a street (the computer market). Nahida got me to ask Miz to tag along with me. He came over and we took a cab to go. On our way one of the roads to the Jadriya bridge was blocked, we took another to find a hundred cars stalled stalled at the beginning of the bridge. We let the cab head back without us. We walked ahead, at the end of the jam a checkpoint usually run by the Iraqis was being run by American soldiers. They were searching every single car one by one. A soldier asked Miz and I what was in our pockets and to pull up our trousers whilst gesturing what he was saying. We did as asked without uttering a word and went on. I called Mos once we reached the middle of the bridge he too was stuck in a cab somewhere in the jam behind us on his way to work. We waited for him for a while but he was so far behind and still intended to go to work so we ended up going ahead without him. Miz at this point began complaining about the heat and about the walk. He's not much of a walker and his hair is trimmed very short. Miz and I ended up walking a whole lot that day, after Sana'a street we went to a restaurant nearby and then to Karada and then caught up with Mos at work, where we enjoyed some good old air conditioning. We eventually wound up back at my place for another sleepover, Miz played with Mos' PSP, Mos played Zelda on my Wii for over six hours, and I watched a copy of Die Hard 4 that Mos got from Kala on Mos' laptop, and we all played some dominoes together.

Today I finally got myself to Bab AlShargi and got myself some power adapters for my access point and wireless router. Also got some Wii games which took ages because the shop owner had to make me copies. And the one game: Brain Age, that I really wanted didn't work when I got home.

Just had an excited conversation with my dad, which couldn't be helped since I had just had a drink. He's complaining that I'm still in Baghdad and that I'm carrying out the work he's tasked me too slowly. I'm came back at him, by describing the circumstances I'm having to deal with. He gave me permissions to spend money more freely to get the job done fast. The conversation was a continuation of a previous call which included questions like why didn't I take my our car to go to the farm or why do I need to get a check to make a new passport.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Afternoon at Home

I got back from the farm yesterday. What's strange is that I feel I somehow got used to being there. Nahida isn't in such a great mood since we got back, she says it's the heat. Urban Baghdad is warmer. Mos says he's hungry and I am too. He's playing Zelda, he's got a long way till he catches up with me. I need to have over Mos to make use of his wireless access point because I'm still too lazy to look for new adapters to replace my fried access point and wireless router power adapters. I could go buy a new access point for fifty bucks in the mean time. Made cheddar cheese sandwiches, warmed them up in the oven, picked up some mint leaves from the garden and put them in the sandwiches also added some Worcestershire sauce. I don't think I like Worcestershire sauce. Spoke to dad on the phone just now, Gave me a list of things to do regarding the farm. He wants me to do an inventory check on the seeds and fertilizer. I've been trying to imagine if it's possible to make some kind of database with a program to make running the farm easier. Od's back from Yemen, he went there to visit his family. Should be looking forward to catching up with him and telling him off for not bringing some qat up his anus.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I Went To Najaf

Yesterday I was planning to go back to Baghdad because I had run out of food. But the government pulled off a last minute traffic ban meaning I'm stuck in the farm till Saturday or Sunday I think. So instead of going to Baghdad yesterday Nahida, Fozzy and I went to check out Najaf which isn't very far at all. The last time I went there must've been over ten years ago and visiting my grandfather's crypt in the basement of a house too creeped out to take a good look. Someday I'm expected to be burried there too. I really ought to check it out again sometime before I'm dead. Was hoping to find some food in Najaf and we wound up heading to one of the poshest neighbourhoods to find a grocery shop but they didn't have much of anything good either aside from some beans in a tin and Nescafe gold blend.

We also went to the big market they've got over there. On the way there we passed by a fire station wondering whether they should move out because there was lots of smoke rising from behind a wall across the street. The market was very lively. The whole city appeared a significant degree cleaner than Baghdad. The number of shops in the market was incredible considering they're all selling pretty much the same stuff mostly textiles, basic foods and speciality sweets, and gold jewelery. There was one little shop with a guy making 'head turds'. It looked like a lot of work went into one of those, but I imagine most of them are machine made now. It wasn't difficult to spot Iranian tourists either even though they appeared to make an effort to blend in. Some of the shop keepers were even speaking Farsi. There were private security soldiers there too, they were the only ones that appeared to be taking maintaining security seriously. They'd stand firmly in one place whilst Iraqi security forces would mop around, play around with their mobile phones or congregate over some tea.

I really want to get back to Baghdad. I think there might be some hypocrisy when the government imposes a traffic ban so that people can do their "walk" to Kadhimiya. The government is very big on the idea of the majority yet I don't think the majority of people are going on this walk in the first place.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sweaty and Dirty

I'm inside a baking hot first floor internet cafe in Shamiya right now. I've got to stay put here till Fozzy finishes seeing the doctor because he's got a nasty flu or something. Early this morning he was wailing puke out. I'm surprised I'm not sick myself yet.

I got back here a couple days ago. The good news is that unlike last time, I was able to take a dump the very day I arrived. Last time I think it took me three days for my bum to feel at home enough to take a poo.

The electricity isn't as good as last time unfortunately and there's no fuel being at the petrol station either. Oh yay, the electricity is here but it's been five minutes and the air conditioner looks dead to me.

Looks like it's nearly time for me to get picked up. I wasn't able to finish my last post at home because the mains adapter to both my access point and wireless router died on me. Another problem with having no national electricity is that you end up using bad electricity that fries everything. Today I was thinking of sweeping the tarmac area in front of our storage rooms. But changed my mind because I didn't have a good enough broom and because I don't know how to deal with the many piles of dog poo that are scattered all around.

Water's pretty scarce at my house here too. I haven't had a shower since I got here. But I'm okay with that so far. I'm a dirty person. I did shampoo my hair today though with bottled water. Apparently today our guard let some punks take water from the guest hall tanks. And the thing is that those water tanks need to be filled before the one for the house begins to fill up. This guard of ours is such a wanker. And there's another one that I don't see much, which I like more but just because I do not see him. Apparently the other one is planning to ditch his wife and seven daughters to get married to another and then perhaps hop off to another town.

Back in Baghdad, my brother has a house that last year I was visiting every other week to photograph during it's construction and which this year I used the "it's not safe" excuse to avoid the hassle. The last time I went there before going off to the UK for my summer vacation last year, the guys building the house put a lady to live in the place to avoid squatters from moving into it. It's recently been revealed to me when Nahida chatted to a friend of mine who lives in the neighbourhood that the woman has three girls that she prostitutes. Unfortunately, it was to late to take advantage of that because the scene there has indeed become too dangerous for me since Nahida has been receiving threats regarding my dad's house which is next to my bro's.

At first the threats demanded that she puts decent people to occupy the house. The house had been occupied by a Sudanese man for the past few years but he went to Samara to fix some engines and never came back. After the first threat call Nahida got a Sudanese woman and her children in the house. And it's around about this time that the police who had set up a checkpoint near the house began hassling the Sudanese woman asking her to share the house with them. The guys making the threats then began sending SMS messages because Nahida wouldn't pick up when they call. They disapproved of the Sudanese family. Nahida suspects that it's the police that's pretending to be part of a militia and is making the threats. One of my friends thinks that the guys making the threats aren't the real deal since they haven't come to our doorstep yet. I think it was at this point that Nahida and my dad got our high up government connection in action for the first time. I think the threats have stopped and a few days ago the army came and picked up the woman and her prostitute daughters.

Whilst Nahida was chit chatting with Mos it turned out that the same woman and her prostituted daughters used to live near his house until they were threatened to leave with a grenade. He also said the girls were very hot.

It would've been so cool had I known there were cute prostitutes there from the beginning. Just pop in because I've got to take pics for my bro and get a blow job and walk out.

Ah no, I was mistaken the army didn't pick up the woman and her daughters.

[update 18/9/07: I got this whole story messed up towards the end... our government connection got the cops that wanted to move into my dad's house off of our backs, but it was the angry neighbours who complained to a local official and had the army come and pay the prostitutes a visit. The neighbours then approached the prostitutes and convinced them it was best for them to leave and gave them some money from a mosque to get them on their way. And apparently the latest is that they didn't move all that far away, and they'll eventually got kicked off again rather soon.]