That’s the first question we are ask in the border just after getting into the country. Here we were, sitting in the sofa of an immigration office, handingn a glass of tea with the tip of our fingers, the tea has a huge lager of sugar at the bottom, with no preliminary the man there ask that.

“Sorry, can you repeat?” His English was not very clear, “tourist” sounded like “terrorist” and “terrorist” like “tourists”, we cant believe what we’ve just heard.

He repeated the question, this time more clear while a little smile came out of his lips. He was teasing us, black black humour, the kind I like. Even we knew he was teasing us we answered astonished “tourist tourist” as self confident as we could nodding our heads bluntly.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, border, phone

He gave us his phone number in case we needed anything. I’ve removed the last two numbers, don’t think it’s so short.

He was in fact a very nice guy, his name was Mahdi, he helped us to solve all of our questions we had. The most important one to be able to move around the country was if there were cash machines, a thing that makes long trips life much easier. After the “tourists or terrorists” the answer to the question of if there were ATMs disoriented us a bit; “Yes, I’ve heard about it, you insert something, a card or something similar, and then there’s money going out… we don’t have of those things here.” This time he was not teasing us, in Dohuk(the first place we went to) there was a cash machine but it was broken, we were told that it would be fix in one month. As we were prepared, we changed money with no hassle.

In the taxi excited and tired we talk about this kind of interview-welcome in which at the beginning we thought we were being ask tramp questions, and then we saw that the only think they wanted was to help and ensure we knew what we were doing. The surreal image continues, we were in Iraq, at night, by a road with no painted lines, with a taxi driver that had no English and with Britney Spears out loud in the car. we continued to Dohuk. We leave Zakho a city descrived as “sex city” by the kids in the turkish village we stopped to cross the border.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, Duhok

We arrive to Dohuk, a disorganized village with some modernization, the buildings looked all new or rehabilitated and seemed all cars had been bought in the last four to five years. In the afternoon there’s quite an activity as during the day over 40 degrees it’s quite unpleasant to be out in the street.

Searching for the hotel we started talking with some policemen, the emblem on the uniform was an eagle grabbing a rifle with her claw. They had very little English but they help us, they like football so I had one of those “World Champion” conversation. They had purelly “Michael Night” style sunglases.

Iraq, Irak, kuristan, Berashi, hospitality, hospitalidad

We go for a walk to the souk. In our walk there was a guy approaching us, Berashi, he had been in England and had an English with some funny brit accent. He gave us his phone number and we used him fro a few days as a translator. On the left Mathew, my company in Iraq.

People is extremely calm and kind, they have some face features that I don’t know where to fit them; the skin is a bit darker but not as much as in Syria and Jordan and many of them has the eyes less rounded but not as the Chinese, Koreans or Japanese, maybe here the change starts.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, sulav

Kurdish Iraq does not have many choices of transport, basically you have to go everywhere by taxi. They are not very expensive and you can share them with more people to make it cheaper. So to go to Sulav, we take a taxi. Sulav is a retreat place for Iraqis, it’s high so it’s not that warm, even though to be fresher they put the tables on the stream. The water was super cold!

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, sulav, swimm

Upstream the restaurants there’s a place for swimming, the kids came to ask us things and also jump from a bridge to give some show.

Iraq, Irak, sulav, kudistan


Iraq, Irak, kudistan, sulav, shop, tienda

What a toy!.

We met a Kurdish family that lived in Holland. The girl talk perfect English. They have a house in Choman, a village that we wanted to go through, they give us some information to move around the area and they invite us to their house… WOW! People is ultra kind everywhere.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, sulav, young, jovenes

We are clearly different and there’s people stopping to say hello all the time. When we leave we see this group of youngsters we talk a bit with them and they tell us to get a picture so we do. The clothes are the normal ones they wear, girls are very colourful. The golden things are just things they bought in the shops to play. Look at the girl that is looking at the camera through his friend arm. They were fun.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, amadiya

In front of Sulav it’s Amadiya, a village sitúate 1985 meters above sea, the village it has nothing, not even a cafe but it has this wall remains. The guy sitting the was our voluntary “guide”, he had some English and he took us round the village, I think he wanted to practise his English apart from the fact that there´s footing else to do in the village. I kind of thing also that it’s cool walking by a foreigner also.

amadiya, Iraq, Irak, kudistan

Amadiya also has the views.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, hotel, sulav

Sulav was an expensive place for Iraqi standards, if eating the previous day cost us six euro here it was double so we decided to prepare a sandwich in the crappiest hotel room in the planet.

From here we want to go to Gully Alli Beg, a canyon that seems to have some good landscapes. We are thinking on calling the Holand-Kurdish family so maybe they can show us around. The taxi to got o Gully Alli Beg want’s to charge us 90 dollars per person so we decide to hitchhike.

Opposite  to what I thought, there is not a big army presence. The border is like any other with no extra reinforcement and in the country you don’t see that many army vehicles(I’ve seen more in the Kurdish Turkey area). The only thing that makes you remind that you are near a war zone is that there are checkpoints in the roads where you just have to show your passport and hardly ever they ask you anything, it’s a procedure with no tension.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, travel

On the way to Gully Alli Beg.

Iraq, Irak, kudistan, Ali Beg
Views of Gully Ali Beg canyon, there’s really no much here so we keep going to Choman, we haven’t been able to contact our new family.

Iraq, Irak, kurdistan, hospitalidad, hopitality

In the gas station in Gully Ali Beg the assistant there helps us to get into this car. It breaks in the middle of the way, it’s 46 degrees and something got broken.

See you soon.

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