Wednesday, May 11, 2011

welcome to iraq the new

           At this point, love and fashism leaves Baghdad to go to Iraq's port city of Basra. All further posts are from and related to Basra.  Baba, Zayneb (my sister), and Mohammed (my brother) joined us on our journey to Basra. My dad was going to check out the Med School, visit old friends, and do a couple consults.
            So....welcome to Basra.

Welcome to Iraq the new

           Peppered with business savvy folk of all ethnicities, the Emirates Air Basra flight surprised me a little. Having been warned of potential danger, I was told to stick to my second tongue of Iraqi dialect Arabic. Yet, this plane had business men from China, Eastern Europe, India, and America. I was baffled. I took my seat next to an American government personnel in camouflage shorts and an arm camouflaged in war scene tattoos. A California girl, I couldn't help but wonder if our similarities were more than our hypersensitive differences. Ironic, I thought, that I am most appalled by the man on the plane that I could probably carry the longest conversation with. Just saying.
There's a widely accepted notion that the first impression is the most lasting.  Judgments are formed as a result of being deeply intrigued, bored, or entertained by somebody when meeting them for the first time. In visiting a foreign land, I see the trip from the airport to the city in a parallel manner.
Upon arriving to Basra, our driver and bodyguard Mahmoud jumped into the car and proceeded to simultaneously slip a gun into his holster while fastening his seat belt. Impression formed.
We pulled up to the first set of homes, arguably slums, from the airport. At first glance, the lot is merely a sea of satellite dishes.  Masonry homes with cloth draping off of conjunctive tents swayed with the wind. Next thing I knew, I found my mother, sister, and myself in a GMC with an armed man that we just met. In the middle of the desert. Baba's car drove behind us. A great beginning to a Hollywood tragic ending.

The awkwardly festive view from Mahmoud's car

            Thankfully, Mahmoud never killed us, nor did he ever have the intention to do so. He actually ended up becoming quite a close ally throughout our stay in Basra, directing us to the best ice cream parlors while ensuring full protection of us. We arrived to our hotel, five-star by international standards, that appeared like a lone desert rose. Between torn, tattered, and bombed buildings, the hotel sat wrapped in concrete blast-protective walls and barbed wire.

No comments:

Post a Comment