Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Still Holidaying

Today we've had a lot of electricity. More than an hour in one go. I think it's been on at least for two or three hours now. And Nahida said that it came on for several hours whilst I was sleeping this morning. All this compared to the months of the occasional hour or two a day.

I'm still on holiday. I attended Sunday and Monday of last week and then it seemed everyone was decided on skipping the rest of the week and to resume classes the next Sunday, that being last Sunday. I tried to go to college last Sunday, but the road I took was blocked off for the sake of the pilgrims and so I went on Monday and by taking a different road. Traffic was noticeably lighter than usual as a cause of the pilgrimage and a lot of the shops in Karada were closed including the falafel place I was hoping to have lunch from. This week we're not having classes on account of the pilgrimage and of the slight chance the government calls for a curfew in the middle of the day.

And the electricity just went out.

I've started playing Scarface on my Wii. It's a lot like GTA Vice City which is fun and yet a bit tedious. But it's killing my time. My Wii is pissing me off because of the lack of good games available. It's bad enough that it doesn't have such a big number of decent titles, but the worst part is that nobody's bringing any games to Iraq. And I can't download the games either because my net connection is too slow.

Kala's back from Egypt. He got back a couple of days ago, and I passed by to say hello to him yesterday. He looks quite happy to be back. He wasn't really doing anything back there. His parents used to lock him up at home and never let him out and it seems like he's going to go back to that treatment. Even though he seems to be happy to be back, I wonder if he's going to be able to cope with being cooped up again after having had his freedom to go out back in Egypt.

My cousin in Erbil is getting engaged and I've got to attend some sort of gathering at her dad's house on Friday I think. And on Sunday I've got to go to the passport office and apply for a new passport. It's been over a year that I haven't got one. But it's just my luck, that I must go to college on the same day for some review on the progress of my project. Nahida's going to get in touch with the college and explain to them that I can't make it. But I think I could perhaps finish with the passport office in time to make it to college.

This extended holiday has been rather good actually, I've been able to laze about quite a lot. And now that Nahida's brother got released a couple of days ago, my car will be fixed as soon as his health recovers.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Holiday's Over

Tonight's the last night of my two week vacation. I didn't get around to acquiring the services of a prostitute like I had set it out to. That cab driver did call me, and I agreed to meet him two Thursdays ago whilst knowing in the back of my mind that I had every intention of ditching him. I called him the day before Thursday and told him I couldn't make it. Haven't heard from him since.

I'm really not looking forward to going to college tomorrow. I really didn't get much rest during this vacation. I did so many things. The day my exams ended, my dad called and sent me off to the farm the next day for one night to pick up the sums of farm revenues and expenses for the last six months of 2007. After adding them roughly up it came out to a net loss of a few hundred dollars. But I'm not really sure if that means anything. There's more than one way to add up those numbers.

The gaping hole in the back of my car got patched up and looks great. Last week, Nahida's brother was falsely tipped off by someone and was taken by the Iraqi army. He's been keeping in touch and is still in their custody. They admitted that he had been falsely tipped off and that the person that did is going to get into trouble. Nahida's brother is just waiting to get processed out now, which with an incompetent bureaucracy can take a while. In the meantime, the new rear axle I had installed with a one week guarantee started making small noises in the second week.

I went to college a couple of times for the sake of my project. I also went to Suzy's house too because she and another girl make up my project group. Her parents were really nice and old! Her mum was telling us of memories when Iraq was a monarchy. Of how she came along with her brothers from Mosul as a girl to be the one to help them out at home.

I met up with Muni, a classmate of mine, after one of my trips to college. We were supposed to be joined by Zuni, also from college but a different department. We waited and waited for Zuni. Eventually we gave up on him and had lunch at the new Chinese restaurant. And it was a surprising sight, it was so inconspicuous. Tucked into a Karada alley, it was a little shop with a glass wall facing the sidewalk. Inside it had three tables and upon an elevation deeper inside the tiny shop were a grumpy chinese man and a cheerful woman facing other, each one with a frying pan on a stove each. Later on a second Chinese man appeared that seemed to be the manager-like one of three. A simple falafel place looked better than that place.

An Iraqi teenager was there too to help take care of things, he was the one that struggled to speak with the cooks who spook no Arabic and no English either. He showed us what was on offer today. It quickly became apparent that my hopes for some sweet and sour chicken weren't going to realise. The food wasn't great. We started with some pastries stuffed with meat and then a dish of some beef with green peppers and a dish of chicken with potatoes.

Food aside, it was a wonderful experience to see those Chinese folk there getting on with it despite of everything. It was also possible to scrape the sensations that we the diners were in the foreign place in between the cheers of a bunch of Iraqis in a shop on the other side of the road watching China and Iraq playing a game of football.

I had Muni and Zuni come over and sleep at my place during the holiday. Nahida liked them a lot She's been constantly disapproving of my other friends of late, and so that was a nice change. They were really curious to see how it is I live. They were supposed to help me shop for clothes as to change my shabby image.

Zeina still records my conversation and partakes in phone sex in the afternoons and asks me to transfer a dollar of credit to her phone everyday. I see that as a pretty good deal for live phone sex. I recorded one of our conversations too, and realized that it was no fun listening to one's own conversations. It's actually quite boring. Got to erase it before I go to college tomorrow.

One of the two helped me purchase a new telly today, a 32" LCD Samsung (LA32R7) for $725 with a one day guarantee. Nahida's other brother and nephew came over and installed up on the wall for me. And it's pretty nice. I no longer have to strain my eyes to read the names of the songs on VH1 and I can play those Wii games that had really tiny text.

I thought two weeks of holiday was going to be enough, but it wasn't.