Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Travelling to me is an adventure & have to say our trip to Iraqi Kurdistan was that as ıt was a real experience!!

Well had another great experience (but it may not be everyone's idea of a great experience) but yeah going to check out Iraqi Kurdistan was a different trip! Probably cus there was a little mystic, apprehension, knowledge of the wars in Iraq & the unknown of what the region was about!

So like the idiot traveller I am well I have to go & check the place out. I must say that I could eliminate any thought of apprehension or fear cus there was nothing to be concerned about. I suppose the name Iraq brings images of the wars, bombings and bloodshed that has gone on in Iraq. But that was and is the regular country of Iraq & the Kurdistan part is completely different. Heck we hitch hiked in the region a number of times & met some friendly, curious and nice people.

If you are wondering what the heck the following pics are about. Well went to visit the Terror Museum in one of the cities Suylimania. It was a museum of the horror and killing that Suddam Hussein and his hinchmen inflicted on the Kurdish people. Yeah OK so some of pics aren't that great cus they are pics of pics so hence a bit dorky. But hey I took and posted them cus I wanted them in this posting for my memories of the museum not cus they look nice! I don't personally care if this blog is pretty and well designed cus I have limited time, shitty internet response and don't really give a care so this is kind of my personal journal as well as share my travels, pics and views with anyone stupid enough to read this travel blog.

Went to this village called Hadeja close to the Iranian border to check out the Museum dedicated to the 5000 Kurds killed by the chemical bombs created by Chemical Ali who was Saddam Hussein's wingman. Chemical Ali was caught in 2009 and put to death. So the pen used to order his execution is also in the museum!

Roland and I were such spectacles that a bunch of guys working at a construction site stopped to gawk at us! One guy even wanted Roland to sign his arm! Talk about celebrities, ha ha! Roland ate it up but I felt a bit embarrassed and silly!

The big dude in the pic is an Iraqi doctor from Baghdad who was staying in our hotel. Really friendly and curious about us like alll the rest of the people!

Went to a Textile Museum in Erbil the capital of Kurdistan Iraq. Yeah never go to museums but Roland wanted to go so who was I to say no. But it was OK!

The Textile museum is in Erbil in the Citadel which had this statue of this poet so of course had to have a pic with the dude! The one pic is sort of sideways so turn your head it's OK!

Andrew and Ellen pictured here with Roland were 2 of only 5 foreigners we met in all of Iraqi Kurdista. i had met the 2 Assies in Trabzon Turkey and we shared a taxi witht the 2 of them one day.

So yeah I went wıth my German friend Roland as we both travelled quickly to Mardin a Turkish city close to the Iraqi border. But shit after we hurried to get to Mardin we had to wait 3 hrs for a bus to get to Silopi the last Turkish town before the Iraq border. We wanted to get there so we could leave our back packs there and only travel with a day pack for our time in İraqi Kurdistan. So we just went to this hotel mentioned in the guide book & asked if we could leave our packs there as we would stay there when we returned from Iraq. Of course we knew we wouldn’t be staying there after we found out the price of the rooms!!

We then got a taxi which charges 20 TL/14 dollars to drive us to the Iraqi border and do all the paper work to get us ınto Iraq. They usually wait until they get 4 people to take before going.

So we ended up with Roland and I plus 2 Iraqi kurdısh guys! It was ınterestıng to talk to Alex as he calls hımself now (hıs real name ıs Saman) as he spoke good English. He told us he worked as an ınterpreter for the US Army. But a lot of Iraqı’s were starting to think he was a traitor. So he got an US army captain to help get him out of Iraq. So for the past 6 years he had been in exile in Europe. In fact he had gotten married to a Swedish girl and was just returning to visit his family for the first time ın 6 years. His family was in Baghdad so he was kind of scaried about going there so was keeping a low profile in case someone found out he was back in Iraq and told the police on him. So we had a meal with the 2 Iraqı Kurds, got hıs email address and parted ways.
The taxi driver did all the running around to get our visa for the 14 dollars as we just talked. So the entry procedure was even easier than most border crossings. Plus we didn’t have to pay for a visa!

Iaqi Kurdistan or Kurdistan Region is an autonomous Regıon of Iraq

. It borders Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the west and the rest of Iraq to the south. Its capital is the city of Arbıl known in Kurdish as Hewlêr. The Region is officially governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The establishment of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq dates back to the March 1970 autonomy agreement between the Kurdish opposition and the Iraqi government after years of heavy fighting. The Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s and the Anfal genocide campaign of the Iraqi army devastated the population and nature of Iraqi Kurdistan. Following the 1991 uprising of the Iraqi people against Saddam Hussein, many Kurds were forced to flee the country to become refugees in bordering regions of Iran and Turkey. A northern no-fly zone following the First Gulf War in 1991 to facilitate the return of Kurdish refugees was established. As Kurds continued to fight government troops, Iraqi forces finally left Kurdistan in October 1991 leaving the region to function de facto independently; however, neither of the two major Kurdish parties had at any time declared independence and Iraqi Kurdistan continues to view itself as an integral part of a united Iraq but one in which it administers its own affairs. The 2003 invasion of Iraq by joint coalition and Kurdish forces and the subsequent political changes in post-Saddam Iraq led to the ratification of the new Iraqi constitution in 2005. The new Iraqi constitution stipulates that Iraqi Kurdistan is a federal entity recognized by Iraq and the United Natiıons, and gives Kurdish joint official language status in all of Iraq, and sole official language status in Iraqi Kurdistan.

We visited all the major cıtıes and a lot of the villages ın the region.

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