Travels around Kurdistan and a Glorious End to October

Hello lovelies! I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve written anything. We’ve had a week break from school this past week for Eid, and I’ve taken full advantage of the holiday by traveling and lazing around in my jammies. Hence the radio silence.

I’m still trying to readjust to the normal schedule (funny how a week off can totally throw you off balance), so instead of a normal post where I rant about the latest topic on my mind, I’ll just show you what I’ve done this past week through photos. And hopefully get around to writing it about sooner or later. Maybe this will be the start of a new series, “Week in Review”. We’ll see.

So, this week, I..

Had some of my students visit me to wish me a happy Eid!

Drove along the famous Hamilton Road, built by the British in the 1920s to connect Erbil to Iran.

Voluntarily sat in the trunk for our road trip to Rowandz

Took awkward tourist photos in front of a very crowded waterfall.

Bought a new bag! Handmade, and so so pretty. Perfect size for travel.

Rode a cable car to the top of a mountain (whose name I can’t recall). Apparently it was the first day the cable car was running, and there were TV crews filming the opening. My friend said he saw me for a brief second on Kurdish TV. I’m famous!!

Went to Pank Resort in Rowandz. Pank means ‘broke’ (‘I ain’t got no money’ kind of broke) in Swedish. Business seemed to be booming, nevertheless.

Tobogganed down a Kurdish mountain.

Saw the gorgeous gorge of Rowandz.

Pretended to wage war with the last remaining canon of the Soran empire.

Ate some delicious kebabs.

Posed like a professional tourist in front of the beautiful Kurdish landscape.

Took photos with friends in front of a 2,500 year old Zoroastrian temple.

Laughed at the sight of a donkey statue in Suleimani – more to come on why this is so funny.

Browsed at various bookstores in Suleimaniya.

Ate a lot of pomegranates.

Drooled over all the pretty fabrics in the old market in Suleimaniya, and tried to think of reasons why I should buy some and make a dress or two… or five.

Experimented with new fashion headgear.

Drank tea in an old Kurdish teahouse filled with books, photographs of famous Kurds, and old men playing dominos and talking politics.

Had Kurdish street food.

Drank real coffee, made from a real espresso machine!! (You don’t even know how much I’ve been missing my coffee). Caffe 11 in Suleimaniya is my new haven, where I forget I’m in Kurdistan.

Checked out the work of local artists displayed in Caffe 11.

Relaxed over beers, cocktails, and orange juice at Castello, a cocktail/shisha bar in Suleimaniya.

Finished the week with a sobering experience at the Halabja Memorial. Halabja is one of the sites where Saddam used chemical warfare in the late 1980s, and the terror of this time continues to reverberate in society today.

It’s been a great week overall, with a lot of traveling – Rowandz, Suleimaniya, Halabja – and a lot of much-needed down time. How has your week been?

**Since I’ve been traveling all week, I didn’t have Internet access most days and wasn’t able to keep up with what’s been happening in the rest of the world. Before I left for Rowandz, Hurricane Sandy was still in the Caribbean, and by the time I got back and was able to check my email and the news, New York had been devastated. Everyone, in the Northeast of the US, Caribbean, and everywhere else that’s been affected, stay safe and stay strong!

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