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Arbil, Iraq

Before breakfast, Mohammed goes out to start his car. He leaves it with the engine running for a good 45 minutes to make sure it's really warmed up when he drives to work. When we get to his office, he asks one of his drivers to take me around to the places in Erbil that might have international ATMs. We try 6 ATMs but none work. I give up that idea and go to the big mosque instead. It's closed to non-muslims, but the imam's brother and uncle live in Sweden so he's nice and lets me in to have a look. Afterwards, I sightsee pretty much all of central Erbil that I didn't see yesterday. It's actually a charming city, in a way.

In the evening, Mohammed takes me to Hawler Restaurant, the most upscale restaurant in town, where we have excellent food, whisky and smoke narghilea. After two hours, we get the main course. The owner of the restaurant, who is a friend of Mohammed, joins us to smoke. He has a deluxe narghilea, bigger and with a much wider tube so he can smoke more. He also has family in Sweden and has been there himself. His brother was the former leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Mohammed knows an insane amount of people. As we get home, Bush has just got attacked by shoes in Baghdad. The Iraqis can't stop laughing about it.

Tomorrow I'll try to enter Iran through the Haji Omaran border. I'm not sure if the border is open for westerners. I've done a lot of research and haven't heard of a westerner that has passed here. I've spoken to one who's tried though, a war correspondent who's been to Iraq 8 times. He tried to cross earlier this year and was not allowed through. But I think I'll make it. I leave tomorrow morning.

permalink written by  bennedich on December 14, 2008 from Arbil, Iraq
from the travel blog: Ukraine, Iraq, Iran, etc
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bennedich bennedich
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My name is Max. I like to travel.

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