musings on travel, international living, development aid, politics, turkey (the country more than the meat) and anything else that comes to mind...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cowboys and Indians

A friend of mine was telling me a story the other day about his little cousins who had this really neat place to play just down the street from their house. Imagine an old dusty street in West Texas, boarded up windows and gates the only remnants of the boom years when those rustling cattle ruled, Indians could attack at any time and the law was all but the enemy. A once-dusty road was now a pot-holed oasis for hiding spots and where a broken wagon once sat on the side in the olden days, an old Ford pickup now provided cover for the mini cowboys awaiting oncoming Indian hostiles.

"Bring it on you filthy Indian," the leader of the rag tag band of brothers would cry out as he pointed his toy gun at my friend approaching in the distance. "You'll never take us alive!" Ducking behind another decrepit vehicle, my friend avoided the pretend pistol fire, even faking a wound to the shoulder.

"I hit I hit, have mercy. I lowly Indian, you powerful cowboys."

"No way mister, you'll never bother us good folks around these parts again," another cousin shouted as a spray of fake bullets whizzed by my friend's head. Having played the same game as a child, he quickly faked his death and walked by the group of cowboys and into the house, patting on the head the one cousin who wasn't agile enough to get out of the way.

Now imagine the friend is me and the same scene takes place in Iraq... somehow it's different; although the reason makes me sad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

After living in Iraq with limited ability to do anything but work for a few months, I appreciated the following things much more than I used to on my two week jaunt to Turkey: Lauren, my family, bodies of water, restaurants, the US health care system, cherries, sunflowers (even the sad ones), non-armored cars, the sound of the ocean and the taste of fresh simit in the morning.

I've decided I really like plums, although not ones that are soft. Also, dates from Medina taste better than dates from Iraq.

After discussing the difference between Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians with one of my employees, I quickly erased the white board, less out of fear of reprisal and more out of fear that everything I said was completely inaccurate.

Glade's "I Love You" scented spray (probably only available in Iraq) does actually smell like "I Love You."

Stories of how we are positively affecting the lives of Iraqis never get old.

One should never take a good role of Scotch tape for granted.

Note to self: please remove pictures of your girlfriend in a bikini from picasa before showing the album to your Iraqi colleagues during Ramadan.

Despite my insistence to the contrary, 'fag' means cigarette to my Australian colleague.

Playing futbol with the neighborhood kids is difficult in sandals, especially after one of their parents watered the concrete creating a sea of mud. Solution: crocs with a strap at the back... genius.

I must find out who this man is and congratulate him on his perfectly shaped, and well-tanned, mid-section: