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March 10, 2003

A few photos

welcome_web.jpg

This is your first view in Kurdistan if you enter from Syria (by a little motorboat across the Tigris). This was taken on my first trip to Kurdistan; this time I went through Iran.

This is on the border between Kurdistan and Iraq proper. This guy changes money from the old Iraqi dinars, which are used in Kurdistan, and the newer ones, with Saddam Hussein's face, which are used in Iraq proper. Just to get some souvenirs I changed $1 with him, which got me 3000 dinars. That required 12 of the largest bills they have, 250 dinars.

The smoke you see behind him is from a gasoline fire. People try to smuggle gasoline from Iraq proper into Kurdistan, where it's more expensive. But if the Iraqi troops catch them they burn the gas. Apparently this is done 1. to intimidate potential smugglers and 2. because gas is so cheap there that it is easier to burn it than to transport it back to somewhere it could be useful. I don't know what gas costs in Iraq proper, but in Kurdistan it's about 50 cents a gallon.

MaDonal_web.jpg

Lest you think everyone in the Middle East hates America... I've had the Big Mac there, and it's not bad. This restaurant is in Suleymaniya, there is also a fake McDonald's advertisement in the soccer stadium in Erbil.

March 10, 2003 in Kurds | Permalink

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