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Thread: NE Iraq holiday

  1. #76
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  2. #77
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    Gulf air via Bahrain - and back home with a smile after a fab holiday. Thanks for all the nice comments.


  3. #78
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    I traveled with just one change of clothes and a couple of old sets of underwear in a small backpack btw. Cheaperand easier just to buy fresh underclothes and discard the old stuff than lug 10kgs around. I pinched a Gulf air blanket on the way out but never needed it.

  4. #79
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    And my favorite pic of the entire trip. This group of students were on a day out to visit the dam and wanted a pic. They were the nicest, most polite and well organised kids I'd come across.

    Iraq's had a rough time in the last 30 years. I really hope these kids get a better future.


  5. #80
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    On December 11, 1990 I left Iraq as a human shield hostage, having been arrested in Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion. I swore I'd never return.

    On March 9, 2011 I left Kurdistan as a guest and friend.

    It's been emotional......

    Last edited by Lostandfound; 16-03-2011 at 12:34 AM.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue View Post


    Is that 3 ltr bottle of white lightning 8% 'cider' ,to the ladies right ?

    Is that a real sofa behind them , or some Tromp l'Oeil style mural , painted on the wall ? hence the need to sit on the floor

    How was the accommodation on the road ,did you spend any nights sleeping under the stars ?
    No problems finding accomodation. I've never encountered such magnificent hospitality. The KAR of Iraq is safe - probably more so than walking round in Phuket or Pattaya. Go see for yourself.

    Iraq has been royally f[at][at][at]ed by Saddam, war and then - in what must rank among one of the most outrageous crimes against humanity in history - by UN sanctions that forced people in the street to pay the price whilst the elite got pissed in Mansour nightclubs.

    Rant over.

  7. #82
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    Would not fancy a holiday there, interesting for sure , but i'll leave it to you and Ross kemp,
    Dont like being the only tourist in an area ,it's very tiring
    Not sure where i'll go next .
    Asians countries are now either expensive for holders ,
    or full of paedos .
    maybe I ll go Costa Rica

  8. #83
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    What an absolutely fantastic trip you must have had, talk about new horizons. Thanks for the great picture's and glad to see you got home safely with tons of memories What a completely different view i now have of that part of Iraq

  9. #84
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    Thanks - it's one of the most fascinating places I've visited in years.

    Twenty years of sanctions mean it's not been 'starbucked', even the internet is new there. There are only one, perhaps two hotels in Erbil that have websites, yet probably a hundred 2/3 star hotels to stay.

    As far as safety goes it puts Thailand to shame. People still regard vistors as guests and the biggest problem I faced was not offending people by refusing their hospitality.

    The countryside is stunning and the area around Dokan Lake is perfect in summer. It's almost totally undeveloped. Don't expect Four Seasons etc but if you're prepared to take the rough with the smooth - GO!

    I am working on a cunning plan to ship out a couple of Harleys with a pal here and re-visit later this year by bike. There are some interesting logistics involved so once these are known and understood we may have a few places if anyone wants to join us......

  10. #85
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    A few last pics..................


    Road from Suleymaniya back to Dokan. About 80kms. A soldier gave me a lift afer 60km. I'm a lightweight.


    Sunday afternoon football match in Dokan. The pitch is crap - very dusty and uneven. About 100 locals lined up along the wall to watch. Dokan (in white) lost 3-1.


    View from Palace Hotel Suleymaniya bedroom early morning. There had been some trouble kicking off over last few days and watercannon were lined up along right hand side of park.


    Out and about in Suleymaniya


    Turbine hall of Dukan Dam. the lens got splashed when I took pics of the water from divert valve running downstream. There are FIVE turbines here. It's a big room. I only got a small camera. Sorry folks.


    Road leading from top of dam back to Dokan. The roadside buildings (now demolished) used to house hundreds of conscript Shia troops from the south in Saddam's day. Prime development spot......the views across the lake here are amazing.


    The approach to the dam - empty pillboxes. Nowadays there are probably fewer than 20 troops on permanent guard at the dam. In 1990 there were at least 1000 in addition to an airforce barracks in town.


    Bedroom at Ashul Hotel overlooking Dokan lake - 120 us/night. I was only guest there.


    View downriver on track approaching dam

    Sorry these are out of sequence.........

    Last edited by Lostandfound; 22-03-2011 at 12:20 AM.

  11. #86
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    Approaching the first security checkpoint at Erbil Airport. You have to pass security check here and swap to a 'security clean' airport terminal car. Pain the the a//se when you're carrying 6kG of baklava as hand luggage.....


  12. #87
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    Baklava

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    Rotan Hotel Erbil bedroom - 295us inc bf/tax etc. OUCH


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    first saw the Ashul hotel bed ,
    and now looking the Raton hotel bed , i'm wondering what you get up to at night ?, do you dream about fighting a giant python or something ?

  15. #90
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    The future .........On the way home from school on the village next to dam.




    I was taken through this village under armed guard 21 years ago for a rare excercise break and noone was smiling. It's changed for the better.

  16. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue View Post
    first saw the Ashul hotel bed ,
    and now looking the Raton hotel bed , i'm wondering what you get up to at night ?, do you dream about fighting a giant python or something ?
    You sound just like my mum, Blue.

  17. #92
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    Wow, nice pictures, world of difference once you cross the mountain range into Erbil....man you should have rode to Mosul

  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iono View Post
    Wow, nice pictures, world of difference once you cross the mountain range into Erbil....man you should have rode to Mosul
    Didn't Saddam use Mosul as a dumping ground for shia to dilute the Kurdish population?

    Main purpose was to visit Dokan. I was kept as a human shield hostage there in 1990 waiting to be executed or bombed - two outcomes that remain plausible in Mosul from what I hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound
    I was kept as a human shield hostage there in 1990 waiting to be executed or bombed - two outcomes that remain plausible in Mosul from what I hear.

    great thread and pics,care to elaborate on the being a human shield?

  20. #95
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    Nice thread!!!!

  21. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunsetter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound
    I was kept as a human shield hostage there in 1990 waiting to be executed or bombed - two outcomes that remain plausible in Mosul from what I hear.

    great thread and pics,care to elaborate on the being a human shield?
    I was on BA149 from London to Malaysia on August 1, 1990. The British government used the flight to land deniable military personnel in Kuwait. We landed approx. 4 hours after the Iraqi invasion and were taken prisoner.

    After a couple of weeks in a hotel compound in Kuwait I was moved to Baghdad and then to Dokan Dam.

    I was released on December 11, 1990. I sued BA but the case was thrown out at the House of Lords. Total compensation from BA was 200 pounds (approx $320 us).


  22. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunsetter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound
    I was kept as a human shield hostage there in 1990 waiting to be executed or bombed - two outcomes that remain plausible in Mosul from what I hear.

    great thread and pics,care to elaborate on the being a human shield?
    I assumed you meant explain how I ended up there rather than in a guide to being a human shield (that's easy, just sit under guard for 4 months waiting to get bombed or shot ).

    If you do find yourself in that position a couple of pointers:

    1. Don't call your guards 'sandwog cnuts', even if you believe it to be true. They won't like it.

    2. And seriously - Don't get caught in the first place. If the country looks like going belly up GET OUT FAST even if it means putting yourself in immediate danger. The people running the show and your government don't have your interest and well being at the top of their agenda.

    3. If the embassy says 'stay at home and keep a low profile' run like fcuk out of the place.

    4. Try and take some spare underwear and at least a couple of good books with you. You've no idea how inconvenient it is spending 131 days in the same underpants. The British Embassy sent us some books to read after 3 months - Mills and Boon lol!!!!

  23. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound
    I was on BA149 from London to Malaysia on August 1, 1990. The British government used the flight to land deniable military personnel in Kuwait. We landed approx. 4 hours after the Iraqi invasion and were taken prisoner. After a couple of weeks in a hotel compound in Kuwait I was moved to Baghdad and then to Dokan Dam. I was released on December 11, 1990. I sued BA but the case was thrown out at the House of Lords. Total compensation from BA was 200 pounds (approx $320 us).
    Shit! I remember when that happened and there have been a couple of TV shows on that.

    Fantastic thread! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Is this the same region that has / had ancient Buddhist ruins that were being excavated just before the war?

  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound
    approx $320 us
    Gee, that should cover one night in an exorbitantly priced Kurdish hotel.

    I've heard similar stories of the extravagant hospitality shown to western tourists in Syria and Iran. Guess they don't see too many of us.

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    ^Is the same hospitality shown to western women?

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