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  • Faris 
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  • Joined: 01 Apr 2005 
  • Posts: 2 
  • Location: Baghdad, Iraq 
Hi, my name is Faris. I'm actually of Iraqi origin but I do carry a British Passport as well as an Iraqi one. That still makes me an expat doesn't it? Came to Iraq 4 years ago, after dropping out of my first year at Bath City College. Living in Baghdad, and bored out of my skull.
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  • Graeme 
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  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003 
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Hi Faris and welcome to the forum:
All we ever see see about Iraq and Baghdad is explosions and injured people, we never get a flavour of the actual people themselves, or their way of life. Perhaps you could rectify this? I can't speak for everyone here, but I for one would be fascinated to hear what everyday life is like for the average Iraqi family. What are the challanges they face, the social fabric of life, how do the view the USA? Give it some thought and if you have the time I'd love to hear your views and opinions.
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  • Kay 
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Hi Faris

Sorry to see you haven't come back. Perhaps things have got too difficult in Iraq, or perhaps you just wanted to get a link to your blog. Who knows?

Anyway, anyone in Iraq is welcome to post if they can. It would be great to hear from people over there. I lived in Northern Iraq for a couple of years but that was a long time ago before we could use the Internet. Our communication was mainly done by sat phones at US$10 per minute!

Hope to hear from anyone out there.

Stay safe!

Kay
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  • Faris 
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  • Joined: 01 Apr 2005 
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  • Location: Baghdad, Iraq 
Sorry about the belated reply Razz I had just received a link in an e-mail to the site and realised that I've been here before.

Well I'm not the most authoritative person to describe Iraqis and their life but I'll do my best.

Commuting in Baghdad is a bit of a hassle. There are plenty of checkpoints on the roads and they bottle-neck traffic. There are several choices to get around:

You could use your own car but only every other day. Cars are split into those that have odd and those that have even numbered license plates. One day for evens, the next for odds and so on.

There are cabs, you don't just get into the cab. You first have to tell him where you want to go and then ask him how much it'll cost and then haggle with him over the price. If he calls out X price, tell him you're willing to pay 3/4 of that. Then once you get in he'll always say "allah bu kheir", and you'll have to repeat it.

Then there are those bleeding annoying Kia minivans. They operate routes and you can get on and off whenever you want. You get in and pass over the money to the guy in front of you who will pass it further along and so on till the money reaches the driver.

And then there are buses too, same as the minivan but bigger and slower.

Families pay quite a deal of attention to the 'extended family'. I thought it was enough to just know one's first degree cousins. But over here, people know their 2nd and 3rd degree cousins. They know that some guy's father is the brother of my great-grandpa's second wife who happens to have been the first wife of that same brother, is the grandfather of the guy that I know as one of those distant cousins. Whatever.

Food can be interesting here. Most of it if not all of it, is unhealthy. Kebab's the first thing you can find to eat. There's also chicken and meat tikka that's never marinated. The really cool thing to look out for when eating meat tikka is the chunks of white fat in between the chunks of tikka meat. Those little babies melt in your mouth. Sheep here have a massive lump of fat hanging over their butts here and that's where those bits of delicious fat come from. There's falafel here too but it's not amazing here.

Home made food is usually a rice meal with 'marga' which is a chicken or meat with vegetables and a runny tomato sauce. One of my personal favourites is the okra 'marga' called 'bamya' here. There are also dumplings made out of crushed wheat or rice called 'kubba'. And there's 'dolma', it's one of the most common things to find if you're invited over for a meal. Dolma is an assortment of vegetables stuffed with rice and meat cooked in a big pan for I don't know how long.

Girls here pride themselves on their virginity. A bachelor's life here sucks.

The whole women rights thing here is a bit wonky. In the government and in business women get the same salaries as men. And women do jobs high up, I know one that runs a whole bank (not just a branch). Women also get their own queue at the bakers for example, where the queue for men can often be about ten minutes long.

And of course you've got all the negative things such as parents not letting their daughters go out on their own or women being made fun of in parliament. And when you're a man and go into an Iraqi home the girls hide.

Heat, the heat here is horrendous in the summer. From May to September it's painfully hot.

Lazy, Iraqis are a lazy breed of people. From an evolutionary point of view it might have something to do with the heat. But the laziness is chronic here. Everything gets done very slowly here. People like to take their getting things done here. Time here is a bit warped, when you ask someone to do something and they say they'll do it now, that usually means they'll do it in about half an hour.

Iraqis aren't great appointment keepers. If someone says they'll pick you up from your house at two in the afternoon they usually arrive at around half past two or maybe three and don't be surprised if it's any later than that either.

Iraqis can't pronounce the letter 'P' instead they say 'B'. And so Pepsi becomes Bebsi.

Iraqis don't say "I don't know"... if you ask the same question over and over again without getting a straight answer chances are that the person doesn't know.

Iraqis love their tea strong with lots of sugar in little these tiny glasses that don't have handles and burn the heck out of your finger tips if you're not careful. And don't be in a rush to finish your tea, because you'll get offered more either way.

Iraqis don't see any shame in staring at strangers. They'll stare you straight in the eyes too.

In my house there seem to be three basic preoccupations which I think are present in every home. The first being cleaning up the dust from yesterday's winds. Second, sorting out the electricity generator, which involves getting petrol somehow. And finally there's running the water pump to fill up the water tank on the ceiling.

And finally because I'm too sleepy to go on; unfortunately Iraqis hate the 'Americans'. They don't hate the people of America as much as they hate their foreign policy and their relationship with Israel. And they've got all these conspiracy theories to support their claims that America is out to screw everything up for the Iraqis. Anything and everything is blamed on the Americans to the degree it's a bit ridiculous.
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  • Graeme 
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Wow, thanks for the great posting Faris, it helps to give us another view of life in Iraq, not the lop-sided Americanised view of things we see on the news everyday.
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Graeme
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  • Kay 
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  • Joined: 22 Jan 2003 
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  • Location: London for a couple of years 
Hi Faris

Thanks for coming back here with an update.

Your posting is interesting but I have to say that much of what you describe doesn't match my experience of living in the country. Things change, of course.

Stay safe.
Kay's Blog - My blog about online business and earning money online.

Not Delia - Foodie blog with lots of reviews and recipes.

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