A scene from Iraq

If you’re like me, you don’t plan on visiting Iraq any time soon. However, I’m sure most of us are curious so let me quote from a letter from a Navy officer stationed in Iraq (a “sand sailor” as they call themselves which I thought was kind of funny). And let me beg you not to get too political – the letter is pretty positive and said things are improving in Iraq but I won’t publish it in its entirety because I don’t want to talk politics.


Jammed roads, bustling markets, a mix of modernity and the Third World jumbled together. Driving through in our convoys, the local police clear the road for us– often requiring that we cross over into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid a jam. The locals shake their head in disgust as we hop the median or otherwise move past the traffic snarls, but it’s in neither of our interest for an American convoy to stop in a crowded area. A stopped convoy is a target, and given the level of armor we travel with, the people or vehicles next to us would be the most likely casualty should someone seize the opportunity to shoot at us. Baghdad is largely quiet at night due to a combination of curfews and vehicle bans, but during the day, in the context of this mix of modern and 3rd World, it has the general feel of a large city. Roads filled with cars, trucks and the occasional donkey cart, markets crowded with people, children carrying schoolbooks or waving at our vehicles, the noise and tempo of city life swirling in wafts of exhaust fumes, grilled lamb and raw sewage.

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  1. travelfan says:

    “And let me beg you not to get too political – the letter is pretty positive and said things are improving in Iraq but I won’t publish it in its entirety because I don’t want to talk politics.”

    And yet you continue to post articles that invoke politics? FYI, it’s been improved for more than 6 months now but the main stream media didn’t want to let you know that.

    So nothing happening in the normal tourist sites that you can post items about?

  2. jenny says:

    Last year there was an article about luxury hotels opening in Northern Iraq in the Kurdish dominated area. They’ve been stable for the past decade thanks to the No Fly Zone we established and apparently have been busy. I’m not sure if I’d wanna vacation up there (especially with all the stuff going on with Turkey right now) but if you really wanted to visit Iraq, this might be the thing to check into.

  3. James Trotta says:

    Well the thing with a luxury hotel is that it doesn’t really matter what country you’re in unless you get out and explore. And like you said, not many of us are ready for that. But if I find more information on these hotels I’ll make a post about them. Maybe we can keep them in mind for the future.

    travelfan – you have lots of criticism for someone who still reads this blog. I forget what the problem was last time, but this time you’re asking for more about regular tourist spots. I’m pretty sure you’ll find some of that if you take some time to browse through past (and future) blog entries.

    Anyway, take this for what it is – a rare insight into a place that would be a great travel destination under other circumstances.

  4. Hannah says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I really appreciate this insight into a country and region that we hear little about.

  5. Kim hwa shin says:

    I thought Iraq is just a dangerous country. But reading your article made me a new point of view. Iraq is also a place where human lives. They have cultures and regions. I hope Iraq to be more safety and peaceful so many people can visit there. I also want to know about Iraq more.

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