If first impressions have any value, may I say I am impressed with Iraqi Kurdistan. I landed safe and sound in Erbil (or, Arbill, as it is sometimes rendered), the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region, marveling at the spikes in the city's skyline. The airport is spanking new and the road infrastructure is either very good or is being built. Things are happening in Iraqi Kurdistan.
My friend Steve was waiting for me as I got off the airplane and got my journalist visa, and then we were whisked off on a three hour taxi ride to the city of Dohuk. A check in at a decent hotel (nothing fancy) then a casual dinner of a gyro-like sandwich and tomato soup. The city of 300,000 was busy and safe.
After a lingering kiss and a blessing from Cindy at the McAllen airport, I was off to Iraqi Kurdistan. The legs to Dallas-Ft. Worth and Frankfurt were the usual boring rides. The ten hours to Frankfurt was almost like going to Japan, except I was going across a different ocean. I didn’t have a lot of time to get to my Lufthansa flight to Erbil, but made it with minimum sweat.
I noticed there very few women on the flight to Erbil –most of the passengers were western young men. They all had the ability to throw a switch and go right to sleep. I nodded for most of the four hour ride.
Tomorrow will be a day of preparation and orientation. Friday is a Muslim holiday so there will be few people to work with.
Good day for me to sleep in and get over the jet lag.