Somber Sunday

Newroz! Spring has spring here in the K.R.D

My staycation here in Sulaymaniyah continues. I woke up yesterday with an ever-so-mildly-annoying headache *hangover?*. It certainly wasn't a 'wild' evening; I had some friends over and we just chilled talking story(ies) about Hawaii, Lebanon, and Australia respectively. We covered the world- the universe actually- right here from 35.5570° N, 45.4359° E,  Iraqi Kurdistan- affectionately known as 'Slemani.'

I had been wanting to visit various museums here in the city so staycation offers a perfect opportunity to finally chill out and check out the city (most days I'm skooling myself about 3 books deep into grammar tagging- yes you know, breaking down sentences into its most basic parts... *le gran sigh*).

So, here's the breakdown of my day:

First off is the bank. It's taking a long time to get * be approved for * a bank account here. What place does one have to be approved to give an institution money? First I needed my Kurdish Residency card to apply. That done, it's been over 2 weeks, and...

Walking into the bank, after a light frisking- either physically or with just a 'you good' nod, depending on who's standing guard at the entry. Banks are serious biz here folks. I stared at the machine for a few moments- it clearly offers English directions as well, but I still stare. Every time. I sit and wait for that number to be called and pass my time people-watching.

Not much happens as I relay my story to the bank lady. I'm just wondering if my account opening has been approved. It has been 15 days after all. Phone calls made, information received (takes 18 days), feel I have made a major accomplishment in this task in that I have had confirmation on what I had previously suspected to know... A secondary tidbit was that as I was sitting there with the teller (yes, civilized- we sit here and transact), two colleagues walked in! I already know people out and about in the city! Major score for sure. I'm surely becoming localized.

I have finally succumbed to the quite normal ritual of having phone credits with internet access. Yea, I know. Why did it take so long. It certainly makes navigating around much easier... This means that I have to carry around my phone in my hand. Feels weird, but I finally get to where I'm headed anyway- after a slight detour (I didn't believe the GPS). Or, it was just a difficult building to locate. After all, I had just arrived at the Amna Sukara...

The Amna Sukara is the old HQ building of the Iraqi intelligence agency, the Mukhabarat. Under Saddam's (Hussein) rule, it was a most dark chapter.

Here's an article with a decent explanation of what happened inside its walls. I don't really want to even talk about my feelings experienced there. It's darkness and this vibe washes over you as you walk about, your mind simply blown while reading the words- words from the brochure, words written on the cell walls from detainees there... Fuck, it's fucking heavy. Then, you see some sort of beauty in some pictures, in the refugee camps or something. Something catches your eyes, the surrounding hills, the camps, the close-up shots of the people, and you sense a beauty within, and there's just this feeling of... I don't know. You have a sense of guilt for finding something beautiful from this capture of dark history. Art. Art is healing, bittersweet, ugly, beautiful- all at the same time and so there is this arrangement of fucked up emotions that consume... That's the best articulation of words that I can muster up in this moment. Yea, read the article.


Okay, now with some background, here is my eyefull:

the Hall of mirrors


something about irony and shit, coming out of the ammunition hall and all...
nothing like some fabric to put a smile back on my face though

I want...

So I'm deep in the beginning phase of my pencil skirt I'm knitting now so...

'Chemical Ali'; his desk...

After the darkness, heading out into the light

 Well, that certainly made for Somber Sunday. Wanting to readjust my kaleidoscope, I headed out on foot down to the Slemani Archaeology Museum.



Babylonian, Assyrian, Hurrian, Sassanian, Sumerian, Akkadian... Essentially it's a timeline extending back from pre-history up to the Abbasid Islamic Period. It's a sweet little museum packed full of history, and herstory. A volunteer came up to me, a local woman, and went around with me. She was clearly excited to talk about each piece. We had a great time, trying to negotiate words in both English and Kurdish. Heart swelling!

This was the perfect closure for my day of explorations! Yes, a successful Explorer's Club kinda day hitting up 2 museums. Satiated, I trotted off towards my favorite park, Bakhi Gshty. No sign of the South Indian and Nepali families that are there every Friday selling their homemade food, I trotted off towards the bazaar. I had one last item on my agenda- fabric cushions for my lanai (deck). I already knew where to go. BOOM. Fifteen minutes later, I'm cruising out with 2 sets of cushions in hand. I flop into a taxi and away we go.

Here's a little snippet of information on Sulaymaniyah, in case you're curious.


In other relevant news, spring is here. My 2 indicators went into high alert this past week: First, my coconut oil is at its most PERFECT consistency right now. Not solid yet not oil, it's just right... Last, no more comforter for sleeping. Yep, just a sheet and a smallish blanket- my new favorite from Yosemite!

Last, sound vibes this morning provided by Gabrielle. Ah memories flood from back on Maui in the day when the group pumping out beats and dancing in the jungle until sunrise. Good shit.


Peace from Iraqi Kurdistan,


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