Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back from Erbil

And I'm back home. I've been more or less stuck in front of the television ever since. Not much good on either. I really need to think about finding a solution to this couch of mine, it really isn't that comfortable.

Erbil was a good break. Everyday I'd wake up and then struggle to wake up my even lazier cousin Shin (that means blue in Kurdish and not his real name) to start a quest for breakfast. We'd usually end up going to a Lebanese fast food place and one time we went to a Lebanese restaurant and got drunk on home-made Arak. Afterwards we'd sometimes go play billiards because he likes it so much. He'd also beat me at it. I had a snooker table in my house, he shouldn't be able to beat me.

His mum and sister Zard would then come back from work. Zard's friend would then come pick us up and we'd go out to restaurants and I'd stuff myself with so much food. There were days when my belly was protroduing way too far out. It was a challenge for me to stuff myself with all the foods that I've missed. Sadly though, they didn't always get the orders right. At one place I ordered a milkshake and got some balls of icecream with some syrup at the bottom. At the end of the one week I spent there, the winner of the best dish there was the crab salad at Bakery And More.

We went bowling a couple of times, the first time I lost miserably to my cousin Zard who was blessed with beginner's luck. We also went karting a couple of times and in the last couple of races were beaten by a girl that had taken lessons. The karting was amazing fun though. Except that the second time I went I was a bit drunk and that kind of spoilt the fun for me.

I paid a visit to one of my relatives that had moved to Erbil because of the security situation and because he got some good rent off of his house here in Baghdad. He's an old guy and it was good to see him in good spirits. He was a horse racing addict and now the old guy tells me he spends his time making bets online. He tells me that everything's really nice in Erbil and that the people most of all are very nice. The only complaint he had was that of greedy and dodgy doctors. A lot of doctors had moved from Baghdad to there, and I guess they no longer worry so much about their reputation and care more for the money.

It's quite unimaginable to imagine you're still in Iraq over there. There is so much business happening there. The government's leasing and selling off big plots of land to real estate developers for cheap and in so doing so are creating many jobs. And unlike in the rest of Iraq, there is a sense of political stability in as there are two major established political parties.

I met a Kiwi woman there that works as an education consultant for the Kurdish government and she's got a programme that involves getting children with special needs around the region into mainstream schools by putting special teachers along with them in the school. To think that the government there is actually going so far as to seek foreign expertise is wonderful.

It might feel that the parties are like some kind of modern day mafias that get a cut out of every big business deal and not always operating as fair as it should be, but on the other hand it's being done in such a manner that people's lives are improving and the people do feel optimistic.

I was expecting to get license plates for my new car as soon as I get back. Now the showroom is telling me that it's going to take much longer than thought and that there's no way I'd get it before Eid and not in time for my dad's arrival because the paperwork is taking more time than expected. My dad's going to be very disappointed not to ride the new car in front of the folks at the plantation.

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