Ever since my Reasons why I love the Philippines post went ever-so-slightly viral earlier this year, I thought I ought to try something similar in the next country I visit.
So here are the things I love about Kurdistan so far. You may notice a fairly heavy bias towards comedy food items…
I’ll be adding to this list as I go along.
1) Inflatable sharks are apparently considered suitable hotel hallway decorations
2) Badly-spelled signs
3) Baclava! Delicious beyond all reason.
4) All of the following buttons on the air con unit that I have no idea what they do and I’m too scared to press the buttons and find out. (Fungusproof? Dust? Clean? Health? Feeling?)
5) Carrot Jam! It’s weird! It’s wrong! But I love the creativity!
6) Obscure crisp flavours. This one is my favourite because it is both strangely specific and yet oddly vague at the same time. AND the picture on the packet appears to be Swiss cheese, adding insult to injury…
7) Lemon-flavoured hula hoops. Surprisingly zingy…
8) I love a hotel with a very clear and visible no-gun policy…
9) Does one need some sort of prophylactic before indulging in this particular meat flavouring?
10) Travelling back in time just by visiting the supermarket. I’m all about the Vimto and Tang.
11) I never had the guts to try this drink, which essentially has mouldy-looking frogspawn in it. I’m told by a colleague it really is as disgusting as it looks.
12) These amazing woolly goats with crazy twisty horns…
13) The fact that my hair has returned to normal thanks to a complete lack of humidity! Hooray! Except in this picture when a gust of wind blew it all over the place at EXACTLY the wrong moment….
14) To be clear, there are no pigs in the airline food. None at all.
15) Biscuit Smell! What is it! What does one cook with it? Surely not actual biscuits?
16) Another encounter with inflatable wildlife…
17) This impressively scary weapons collection, on display in a random hotel lobby, like you do. Apparently the owner tried to import his collection to the UK, and was unsurprisingly not allowed, so it’s on display in Erbil instead.
18) The fact that there is an amusement park called Chavy Land. That will only be funny to British people, but it cracks me up.
19) The rules of Chavy Land…
20) All of these lamps. ALL OF THEM. I want them all, now. Seriously. Someone mega-rich should buy them all for me now, and then buy me a second house to put them all in…
21) This hilariously strange and weird stuffed bird. Can’t help feeling that he’s from Labyrinth, or some other Jim Henson creation…
22) The general kindness and overwhelming hospitality of Iraqi and Kurdish people. They’re incredible.
23) Kurdish fashion – it’s a little bling, and also a little bit awesome!
24) Storks! I’ve spotted some enormous storks!
25) Teeny tiny traditional Kurdish clothes!
26) These massive hair clips that make your hair look bigger under your headscarf!
27) These tiny narcissi flowers (called Narges in Kurdish), that bloom in the spring and smell utterly incredible.
28) This tiny baby all wrapped up snug – he’s definitely very well swaddled!
29) Lunch in the village, also known as a feast!
30) These funky hats – sadly I discovered I really can’t pull these off.
31) This awesome Octeapot (pun intended)
32) The incredibly beautiful scenery and landscape.
33) These amazing sweets found in a shop:
34) Facecake!! My lovely colleagues got me a facecake!!!! Too exciting, I’ve never had a facecake before…
35) This fire phone. I am really tempted to call the number and see if flames shoot out of the phone handset… Or maybe a fire just spontaneously starts somewhere when you dial the number?
36) My colleague and security advisor. Always has the best advice and very simple guidelines to follow….
Things I don’t like about Kurdistan:
1) Can’t get a proper cup of tea. A complaint I make in almost every country I visit without fail.
2) ISIS – I’m not a fan, but then, who is?
3) 49 degree temperatures. Also known as hot as balls.