Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shaggy's Farm

Down on the farm in Shamiya, Shaggy has been struggling with more than just poor internet connections. First of all, his Dad left a backlog of accounts that needs to be taken care of. Second, there are two brothers who have built nice houses on Shaggy's land, and now he needs to ask them to either sign a rental contract or remove themselves from his property. And third, there's that damned sand in his piss (Eating Lots of Halloumi):
I did go back to the doctor after finishing my prescription and after some persistence on my behalf I got him to tell me what the heck was wrong with me... Yes! I am stupid to have had unprotected sex with a prostitute... I contracted chlamydia from the woman. The doctor gave me a bunch more antibiotics, some pills to treat the 'sand' in my pee (an early sign of kidney stones) and told me not to worry and to come back in a month. I've got to insist on getting a culture test next time to make sure it's gone.
On Fridays Shaggy makes it back to Baghdad for drinks and burgers with Od, and even a little hash:
One day, Od got his hands on a tiny bit of hash the other day. We smoked a joint from it on his roof. The sun was quite warm that afternoon and the hash was rather good. There's definitely something nice about getting high in the sun and it's strange how I feel more comfortable with myself when I'm high and I'm not so grumpy either (something my dad thinks is a result of sexual frustration). If only I could get things done whilst high, but I can't.
It's nice to see at least two Iraqi dudes enjoying the nice weather while getting blasted on a Baghdad rooftop.

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Whether it's a true metric of improvement in Iraqi or not I can't say, but Eye Raki writes about witnessing something unusual in Iraq (Dogs & Politics):
Last week just on the outskirts of Diwaniya I saw something very weird. I knew there was something different about Iraq the moment I set foot on its soil. I could smell it in the air and I could see it on the faces of the people. But what I saw was my first proper sign. Near a police checkpoint a stray dog ran up to an officer, careful not to be within kicking distance, and wagged its tail. The officer who was enjoying a sandwich threw it on the floor and gave the dog a snack. For those that remember, there used to be special curfews in place not to curb suicide car bombs and terrorism but to give police space for their periodic dog culling. Sometimes all you can hear is a single shot and silence, but sometimes after the bang comes the moaning and agonizing cries and you just know the dog is bleeding to death. In anycase this time the dog was not given poisoned meat or thrown into a cage as food for the big cats. It was a nice thing to see.
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Last week, in the NYTimes Baghdad Bureau Blog, Sahar S. Gabriel began writing about her impressions upon arriving here in the US. We linked to that first entry, and yesterday she posted her second (New in America: Exploring), which begins:
I have been here for more than 10 days and I still have not come to understand the American spirit of friendliness, especially amongst themselves. The concept of strangers having a whole conversation from a “Hello” or “Is that chowder soup you have there?” is just fascinating.

I take a step back and observe this phenomenon of almost instant cordiality. Perhaps I’m not quite the social animal myself, but strangers don’t swap recipes in elevators or go on about their children in a Target counter line, at least not where I come from.
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UPDATE: Over at Iraq Blog Updates, Ibrahim takes a look at Micho's options for locating housing in Iraq. If she can't find anything, Ibrahim suggests, she can always relocate to the marshes:
You don't need money or a job to live in the Marsh Arabs.It's FREE! All what Micho needs to do is going there to actually build her own Sumerian style house and start fishing together with her fiancé. They just have to fully integrete into the 5,000-year-old culture of the Madan, descended from the Sumerians who established humankind's first civilization, and to do so they may need to buy a (Jamousah) buffalo and try to learn how to milk her every day.
That makes me wonder if there is an Iraqi TV version of "Green Acres." Or maybe "The Beverly Hillbillies," with Marsh Arabs moving into a mansion in Baghdad. I imagine their Granny would know how to use a shotgun, too.

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