Friday, August 26, 2016
Random Observations of Kurdistan
I haven't been in Kurdistan a week yet so my observations are still quite preliminary. First, people here are very nice and polite. But, at the same time security is very tight. There are armed guards everywhere and going into one of the many modern malls involves being patted down and an inspection of all bags. Fortunately, they are very fast and professional. The city including the huge bazaar is very clean. It is also very hot. It is not unusual to reach 47 or 48 degrees Celsius. Food and taxis here are incredibly cheap and you don't need to haggle to set a price before getting in the taxi to avoid being seriously ripped off. The food has a lot more similarities to Turkish cuisine than Arab food in my opinion. But, obviously there are also Kurdish peculiarities that distinguish it from both of them. Kebabs, rice, tomato and cucumber salad, beans, and okra all seem quite common. I have also seen a number of places around the city selling pizza, hamburgers, fried chicken, and other American style foods. The Kurds drink a lot of tea. I mean a lot of tea and I say this as a tea addict who has lived in the UK and Central Asia. Other than tea and water, popular beverages include ayran and various fruit juices. Yesterday I had a pureed melon drink that was fantastic. The Kurdish flag is displayed everywhere, sometimes imposed upon a map of Greater Kurdistan incorporating the Kurdish territories not only of Iraq, but of Syria, Iran, and Turkey as well. One such map colored with the Kurdish flag has been drawn on the sides of the mountains visible from the university. Next to the map and flag combination it says Slemani. Over all my impression so far has been extremely positive. So come on over and visit me.