kurdistan day 5 we wake up in the middle of the
3 November ’15
Kurdistan Day 5
We wake up in the middle of the night to either fireworks or gun fire and lots of shouting. We pack bags ready to make a fast exit but things quickly calm down again.
“Sometimes there’s guns fired, it’s not a bomb”
We visit Koya castle, and meet with the director of antiquities for the region who’s very pleased to see us. His only English is the words Selfie and Facebook but our guide translates. The castle is Ottoman era, but rebuilt several times. The director gets on our bus and takes us to an old house. We get the feeling there aren’t many tourists round here, he takes many photos of us for the local website and Facebook pages. He tells us how much of the restoration has only started after the end of the regime, with help from a couple of Polish and German universities.
We’re speeding along bumpy Iraqi roads and I’m listening to dance remixes of Frozen songs and the Defcon 23 album. Somehow this seems perfect.
We visit Dokun lake and enjoy a ride in a speedboat for the second time this trip and then head towards Sulamanya, to visit the Red Prison. Along the way at one of the several checkpoints the officers check our passports and look up whether we are wanted. We’re given an easier time because there’s women on board, and continue along our way. This is a relatively new territory so tourists are even more unusual here.
Tonight we stay in Sulaymaniyah. Nothing quite works correctly in the hotel, but at least it’s only one night. We spend the evening telling tales with much laughing and joking again, at a fairly western restaurant.