Snapshots from Iraq

I've been in Iraq for over two weeks and realized I hadn't posted any snaps from my time here. To be honest, I have most been writing reports and attending meetings, but it goes without saying that I also have gotten to see a bit of the country (at least in the North). So...today, I want to share with you a few snapshots of my time here and let you know some interesting things I've seen so far...

Ferris Wheel @ Pank Resort: This shot was taken a few days ago. Pank is a place were my org. does a lot of trainings and I always find it a fascinating little spot. It's owned by a savvy Iraqi man based in Sweden who realized that those of a "certain class" in Iraq would want a fun getaway and with the support of a lot of friends in the right places, he created this little resort. Now of course I'm not talking Club Med here, but this place is nicely nestled in the mountains which is perfect around this time of year (spring) when everything turns green and fresh with gorgeous views of the mountains and the air is nice and crisp. The resort is an especially nice retreat for Iraqis from the southern part of the country who rarely get to see nature like this (i.e. as opposed to the dry desert plains) and for who a reprieve from the summer blaze is worth any cost.
Rewas: Iraq may not be a foodie's heaven, but it certainly has some interesting surprises! As we were driving along the road, I kept seeing small pick-up trucks along the road with people selling this green stuff. I commented to the driver and my Danish colleague that I found it funny that they would sell something basic like asparagus along the road. The driver was shocked and immediately pulled off the road. Turns out that my "asparagus" vision was actually a mountain vegetable called rewas that kind of looks like a weird combination of an asparagus, maybe some broccoli and whatever other veggie with a fuzzy stem. You peel back the outer part of the stem and eat the core which has a tart, slightly sweet taste. People seem to just eat it raw, but I'm asking around for what types of recipes could be made with this. Maybe a pie or a salad? Rewas only comes out for one month a year and sells like mad!

Rooftop View: I am currently staying on a ridiculously guarded compound in a simple 3-story house. The ground floor is the main office area while the top floor holds 2 small bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The living room area has been converted into another office space and there is a small patio which is nice for an evening dinner. As is often the case in "field life," the lines between home and work are very much blurred. But in the time that I've been here, the rooftop has become my favorite space. As you can see, the view is basic at best and hardly picturesque, but the space still provides a view of the small neighborhood beyond the compound walls as well as the compound occupants (majority military folks) going about their daily business.
In the Hills: as mentioned above, the views in the hills are amazing with the clouds weaving in and out and the sun casting it's light and the small towns below.

Silhouette: Finally, here is a little snapshot of yours truly. One one of the small hills, an old tower had been build a little over "forever" ago. There was some heaving and body pull-ups to get the the based within the tower but then there was nothing between you, the tower ridge and the entire view of the area. The evening sun was finally setting and my colleague got this quick shot before be had to meander our way down to dinner.

Well - that's it for now. Tomorrow is old souk, citadel, and carpet museum day so hopefully, I'll have more snapshots for you next week.

Have a great weekend!

{Photos: Brandie for Out & About Africa}

1 comment:

kelly jo said...

thank you for sharing these. it's good to get things out that most folks don't get to see. very impressed by your own beautiful profile!