Pak City

I know that you all think Kurdistan is a land of mud huts and bird flu, but you couldn't be more wrong. Yesterday, I toured a new luxury apartment community here in town called Pak City.

I have seen the billboard advertising Pak City for about 2 months now and, honestly, I've been obsessed with Pak City. You see, "Pak" means clean and since it rains dirt here the idea of living in a clean city is very intriguing.

Anyway, two weeks ago we drove by some buildings that looked like the Pak City ad and I was able to confirm that these buildings were indeed Pak City just a few days ago. So, yesterday, I visited.

Pak City is more than I imagined. Each apartment has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, three balconies, a living room, a sitting room, a breakfast nook, walk-in closets, 24-hour electricity, wall heating and cooling units (called splits here in Iraq) as well as European-style radiators. One of the balconies even has a fireplace/grill. Oh, and none of the materials were Iraqi; everything was imported from Turkey (including the hardwood floors). This last fact is apparently a major selling point and it could all be mine for $160,000.


Up front.

So, needless to say, Pak City remains a dream. Unless one of you reading this has $160,000 lying around waiting for a good cause. I think this is the best cause I can think of...


Kurdish News...

I added a new link to Kurdish news on the right >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Check, check it out.


Riots and the Benefits of Self-Pity

I see that my feigned self-pity was enough to draw some of you out of hiding! It was great to hear from Tony (hey, Tony) and Jason (hey, Jason). Jason, I've been reading about your time in Brazil and I have two questions. The first is a two-part question: Have you seen the Jollenbecks? If so, how are they. The second is: Have you lost any body parts to the piranhas?

I can't really say where I am in IQ, but lets just say there were riots nearby today. You probably heard about it on the news, but shots were fired and a certain monument that shall remain nameless was destroyed.

I am writing about it because I read that the government is blaming foreigners and this is totally untrue. The demonstrators were frustrated Kurdish citizens unhappy that a certain anniversary was being exploited for political gains while the city's citizens are ignored for the rest of the year. These were locals, not Arab terrorists.

Also, it doesn't point to larger problems in Kurdistan. It's just the reaction of people in one town, and, unless I am wrong, I don't think any more will come of it (except maybe in that one city; they're crazy there).

Also of note; we were planning to be in that city for the anniversary, but we heard rumors of planned demonstrations and stayed home, instead. Wise decision, eh?


Self-Pics and Declining Readership

So, I'm convinced that fewer and fewer people are reading this blog. Perhaps that's because I don't update enough or perhaps it's because I don't write too much about anything. Either way, I've decided to spice things up a bit with...

...wait for it....

...wait for it...

... a self-portrait!! Yeah, that's right. I took a picture of myself and now I'm posting it on my blog. Did you ever imagine this blog could be so exciting and fresh?

For the last few days, my team went to a nearby lake, which I guess I can't call by it's real name either, so I'll call it Lake Secrecy...

Anyway, Lake Secrecy was really beautiful and it was a nice break from the daily grind of living in a foreign culture. There was no one else there really (since it was mid week and March) but us, so we could speak English all day long! It was really good.

On Wednesday, some of us took a boat ride on Lake Secrecy. Basically we flagged down a passing boat and he gave us a tour. That's how it's done here, there's no ticket kiosk on the boardwalk. In fact, there's no board walk. There are just random boaters out on the lake, but this guy obviously gave rides for a living; he had the proper boat.

It's really beautiful here. not like what you see on the news.


Xwa Hafiz, February

So, February is finally over and I am happy to see it go! March is already sunny and beautiful and I am looking forward to warmer weather and everything else that Spring brings with it.

I finally found a language helper, so I'm on track to learn more Kurdish! He's an Arabic language teacher at a local school, so he's teaching me a little Arabic as well. Which is much more difficult than Kurdish, so, if you're planning to come to the Middle East, think about coming to one of the non-Arabic regions, you'll learn the language faster.

In Arabic there are three letters for the "th" sound and they are al phonetically different. At least in theory they are. I can't really tell the difference.

My ability to write in Kurdish and Arabic scripts impressed my language helper, though, so that made up for my inability to pronounce the Arabic words. So there's that, at least.

Not much news otherwise. The team's looking at helping at the local maternity hospital and trying to supply materials for people to build houses, but that's all in the planning stages.

Not too much else to say...

Keep on truckin'