Sunday, August 31, 2008

Got a New Ride

Daddy bought me a new Mitsubishi Pajero with the twelve speaker sound system. It's my first car, up until now I've been driving my dad's old Mercedes. The new car has got most of the bits and bobs mentioned in the instruction manual except for the ASTC traction control thing, DVD player and oddly enough it's missing the floor mats. The bigger bummer is that I've got to wait about a month for the license plates. I'm not sure yet how I'm allowed to drive it until I get those.

Dad tells me that with this car I represent him and his status among the people at the plantation. Today, he had a serious talk with me about how I must get dressed up in a dishdasha with a towel and turd on my head. We agreed that I will when he comes over to visit next month.

The final episode of Noor just finished airing on tv. It's an Arabic dubbed Turkish soap that Nahida as well as most of the girls here have been hooked on for the past month. I no longer have to share my tv at ten in the evening and I no longer have to think twice when calling girls.

My cousin who helped my pick out my car just called. He's leaving to Amman at four in the morning by car and invited me to come with him reminding me that I've got a British passport and therefore can get a visa at the borders and that also Iraqna lines operate in Jordan with no extra roaming fees which means that dad can call me and not know that I've left Baghdad. It's so tempting. He'll go check out how much the floor mats over there cost.

Ramadhan's getting close. That means it's a rush to the booze shop to get supplies that will last a month. Friday afternoon realizing how dangerously close I was to the deadline, I headed onto the main street to hook myself up, but with no luck. The booze shops were closed in my neighbourhood and the guy that sells nuts next to two of them told me they're not going to open till the end of Ramadhan. Obviously, at that point I was very very worried.

Later in the evening, my cousin showed up and with him I took my first ride with my new car along with my three Anime friends (Mos, Miz and the other one) in the back. We went to the other side of town and got a box of Corona beer and a bottle of Tequila. Didn't get stopped once on the way, got stopped twice on the way back and yet didn't have to show the car papers. Actually, the guys at the checkpoints were really friendly. The first one told me to hurry up after he asked what the box in the back was. At the second one, my cousin jokingly offered the beer that was in my cup holder.

Mos, by the way, will be leaving to Syria in a couple of day and then off to Toronto I believe. His family applied for immigration eight years ago and it's finally time for him to piss off. Good for him. That makes last night the last time he'll be sleeping over at my house. Now, I'm a bit worried about how I'll be getting my hands on some anime without him, or the motivation to play the Wii.

I've got a new problem with work. New government requirements state that the paddy seperators in our rice mill need to be switched from the crappy locally made ones to the newer Chinese made ones. That's going to involve over hauling the whole production line and I'm not understanding much about it. Right now, we've got two installers the local one who is dodgy and is offering a relatively cheap solution and the other that Nahida and Fozzy met today who comes highly recommended and even showed off a great mill to them, unfortunately I didn't come along. The second guy would make us dig deeper into our pockets and wants us to decide whether or not we want him by tomorrow.

Ideally, I would be wanting to make a financial feasibility study or something. Not sure I know how to do one of those in the first place. I don't think doing a shoddy job of over hauling is an option. So that leaves the options of not operating this year or going all the way. Trouble is my dad would probably chose to do it on the cheap.

I'm getting hungry, got to see what I can find in the fridge.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Good To Be Back In Baghdad

And I'm back from another record breaking stay at the plantation, I stayed there two weeks! I was not planning to stay that long, but I didn't want to leave without finalizing the distribution of fertilizers. That's having a sense of responsibility isn't it.

I was told that some crops in one area have died from lack of water. That's not the best of news. I've yet to check it out myself. I've yet to make up my mind about it. From what I understand there are plenty of reasons why they didn't succeed to grow. There's a nation-wide water shortage from what I hear, the government isn't supplying us with subsidized diesel fuel to run the water pumps. And that specific area has its own issues such as troublesome farmers.

It seems the mosquitoes get a kick of leaving me alone during my whole stay there until the night before I leave. I got one on the hand, one on my elbow, one on my leg and three on my neck one of which is massively bulging out from the side.

First thing I did when I got here was have myself a chicken shawerma. And then when I got home, I called my friends to tell them that I'm back. Ennie later called and I met up with him where he was with his uncle who was attending a lecture about assisting typhoid treatement with fruits and veg. I thought it might be interesting considering that typhoid isn't rare where the plantation is.

On my way back home, I thought of getting some lahma bi ajeen on my way back home, but since I saw one of the guy's from my internet provider chilling at the newly opened narguila cafe. Sat with him and had myself some two apples flavoured narguila and a lemon and banana flavoured juice. There were plenty of people crowded around the lahma bi ajeen place and the wait half an hour long. No worries though, tomorrow some of my classmates might come over so I may help them out for the re-tests and we'll go have lunch there.

It's getting harder to blog. I'm not slobbing about as much as I used to and that's affecting my blogging juices. I also feel my English is beginning to suffer. I ought to get some novels and start reading again.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Have spent the past week in Baghdad during which my uncle's ex-wife and her two kids stayed over and tomorrow I'll be on my way back to the plantation. During my stay here in Baghdad, it been quite amazing to see the changes and the new optimism in the air. There's a new lahma bi ajeen restaurant near my home and I got Nahida to bring me some over for dinner today, and it wasn't bad. Yesterday, Miz and I bought some booze after sunset. Od and I had hoped that things would start getting better as soon as we graduated, and it's looking like that things are turning out just as we had hoped. Miz and his friend however, see that things are going to flare up after the next big election.

Right now, I'm drinking some Lebanese wine, eating some Turkish pickles from a jar, and watching some documentary on a French language satellite channel about tunnel building. I"m losing interest in the documentary, let's see what's on MTV: 100 best French rock videos.

Nahida also got me some hummous. I'm now trying to choose between another glass of wine or digging into the hummous.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Went To Karbala

I've been postponing my return to Baghdad for the past two days. What's strange is that I don't mind.I actually feel myself settling in here at the plantation. All I'm missing is a car really, that way I wouldn't have to rely on others to get out of the house.

Yesterday evening, I went to Karbala with my two distant cousins. That place is something else. There was some kind of pilgrimage going on there and there were loads of people trying to get into the city. To get into the city everyone needs to be searched the city entrance and as you approach the big mosque inside the city you have to get frisked a few times again.

Two things surprised me about the place. There seems to be quite some wealth there, there are plenty of shops there and some of them actually look quite nice and clean. After touring the outlying area of the mosque we went to a new fast food restaurant flashier than anything in Baghdad today. It was a tad weird to see someone roll out a prayer mat and to begin praying in the middle of the restaurant though.

The other thing that I noticed there, is the surprising amount of women there. About three quarters of the people on the street were women. All wearing that black gown from their head to the ground but without covering their faces. Some girls don't do their eyebrows at all and that always startles when I look at one. One of my cousins tells me there are hot chicks there, and somehow he actually checks them out even though they're wearing black from head to toe. He must have some well-trained eye to do that.

Tomorrow, I'm finally going to go home back to Baghdad after spending over a whole week here. When I get there, I'll go buy some soda water and give the Iskanjabeel drink thing I bought from Karbala a try.