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April 2008

Greetings from Iraq, part 2

Hiya. I'm in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and largest city in northern Iraq. This photo shows an old Ottoman bridge in Zahko, on the Turkish border. I would post more photos but Internet in this part of the world is excruciatingly slow. But so far on this trip I've hit Zahko, Dohuk, Amadiyah, Barzan, Aqrah, Gali Ali Beg, Beckhal, Rawanduz, Shaqlawa, Salahaddin and now Erbil. From here I'll be going to Sulaymaniyah, Halabjah and then back to the land of the big P.X. in London. Erbil is an amazing city, second only to maybe Dubai in terms of construction in the Middle East. There are shopping malls, 5-star hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities here. This is where it's all happening in Iraq in terms of tourism and development! So other than two minor incidents where I was detained and questioned by soldiers who were suspicious because they had never seen a Western tourist, Ive had no problems at all. This has been a fun assignment and hope to encourage many more Westerners to visit Iraqi Kurdistan! I'll post more photos when I get back to London. Cheers!
Mr. Crab

Greetings from Dohuk, Iraq!

Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdish Region, originally uploaded by TwoCrabs.

Here's a photo of Iraq you won't see on the nightly news. It's the Mazi Dream City amusement park in Dohuk, Iraq from atop the ferris wheel. After the sun set, thousands of Kurdish Iraqis entered the park wearing their Thursday night best. Women don beautiful colorful, traditional dresses with sequins and sparkles; guys wear jeans and t-shirts. This park is located in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) province of Dohuk in northern Iraq. I'm just a few miles from war-torn Mosul but a world away. Talk about surreal!

I'm on my second day of my long trip through Kurdistan. I'll try to post regular updates, which shouldn't be too hard as there are internet cafes everywhere in Kurdistan!

Greetings from Istanbul

The Blue Mosque - Turkey, originally uploaded by TwoCrabs.

The Two Crabs spent three nights and two days in beautiful Istanbul, Turkey. We had no expectations going in so we were pleasantly surprised to find it to be such a cool town! And we couldn't get over the fact of how CLEAN it was. It makes London look downright filthy. Had a great time eating many kofte meatballs, washed down with pints of Efes Turkish beer. We'll post more photos when Mr. Crab returns from the Middle East. Cheers.

Memories of Hillary

As the whole world has heard by now, Hillary Clinton is in hot water for claiming she "landed under sniper fire" during her March 1996 visit to Bosnia.  I had forgotten all about that Bosnia visit until this controversy blew up last week.

You see, I was in Bosnia when Hillary visited. At the time, I was a young U.S. Army military journalist stationed at Eagle Base Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina during the NATO peacekeeping mission dubbed Operation Joint Endeavor. And as you can see from the photo above, I (Mr. Crab) met Hillary and daughter Chelsea. Our public affairs unit spent the day covering her arrival ceremony and visit with the troops. And I can assure you, at no time was Hillary, Chelsea or anybody else ever under fire that day.  In fact, during my entire six-month tour in Bosnia, I never saw or heard a single shot fired in anger.  We worked in the public affairs office. And believe you me, we would have heard about it if she or her plane had come under fire. 

Hillary now says she "misspoke" about the incident. I'm not sure what she thought she would gain by such an exaggeration. But the bigger question was, did she actually think the 20,000 U.S. soldiers or dozens of journalists in Bosnia at the time would not call her on that claim? 

Oh that wacky Hillary!