Turkey 2007: Iraq Mobilization & Malaria Dreaming

Jun 5, 2007
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Tanks can be seen in the distance heading for the Turkey - Iraq border
Above: Tanks can be seen in the distance heading for the Turkey - Iraq border.

// The trip over //

I made it into Turkey alright with only a few minor snags. One being that I didn't know about the new policy at London Heathrow that they only allow one carry-on bag now and British Airways only allows two checked bags... I had 4 bags total, so to solve this problem, I had to make a "quick" stop at a luggage store in LAX and buy a giant duffle bag and repack everything in the airport. It had to have been a pretty amusing site watching as all my stuff was spread out across the floor waiting to be repacked!

I met my former professor and one of her new undergrads during a layover in London and we headed to Istanbul together. We arrived there late and had an early flight out the next morning. While I had fully planned on just sleeping at the airport, my prof had actually bought a room for all of us at the airport Radisson. Of course, by the time we got there, we had less than 3 hours before we had to leave to catch our next flight. We all got nice showers, but none of us slept a wink.

// The Dig thus far //

The dighouse and Bismil haven't changed much, but it is an almost entirely new crew this year. It's kinda strange being one of the three senior members on the site. What has been really nice though is realizing just how much I am able to communicate in Turkish finally. I still cant have any level of in depth conversation, but I am able to spend 8 hours a day talking, joking, and leading 4 turkish workmen in a trench by myself. A long stretch from where I first started three years ago...

We have been having a lot of fun so far. I got my same workmen from two years ago and by now we feel like old friends. I have also started a photography project with the plan of developing a traveling photo exhibit on Kurdish culture. I already have three places that are interested in showing it in conjunction with a lecture from the director of the project. The idea has allowed me to do some pretty cool things already, like hanging out in the center of a local herd of goats, going into the fields and meeting the ladies that work them all day, and on Saturday I am planning on spending the afternoon touring a few of the local villages with a couple of my workmen. I might even end up spending the night. And I've only been here three days! It's going to be a fun summer...

// Turkish Military Heading to Iraq //

So on the site the other day, I see a train coming off in the distance. I immediately take note, because I couldn't remember if I had ever seen one using the nearby tracks... Well as it came closer, I was able to get a good look at it's cargo -- It was definitely no ordinary cargo train... No, this train was carrying a dozen Turkish military tanks headed to the border with Iraq... I don't know if it is getting much coverage in the US, but Turkey is dangerously close to invading Norther Iraq to go after Kurdish rebels that might be taking sanctuary there. This could potentially be very bad, because it could cause the whole area to flare up again much like it did back during the PKK rebellion in the 90's. The Kurds however believe that the US is on their side and I see them thinking that this might be a good time to make a play for their own sovereign nation. It will be interesting to see what transpires in the near future. It's a little difficult to see when small, but the photo above shows the tank train passing a small Kurdish village with the inhabitants farming the land.

// Malaria Induced Dreaming //

Anyway, here is a funny story... I'm taking a new kind of Malaria medicine this year and I am actually seeing some of the side effects that I have always heard were somewhat common. I took a dose the other night right before I went to sleep -- probably not the smartest idea... One of the side effects of the medication are night terrors, well... I woke in the middle of the night having some pretty interesting dreams. I don't remember the details, but I do distinctly remember it having something to do with Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boylen. My roommate confirmed that he heard me saying her name and something about screaming "Stay Away!""" over and over... Not sure what any of it means or how the storyline went down in my head, but I'm sure it's all because I started watching the new HBO show the Tudors right before I left....

Tanks can be seen in the distance heading for the Turkey - Iraq border

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Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:54 PM | Reply

haha you are taking "doxie"!! We took it in Iraq and you are haveing doxy dreams. They rock!! I miss them. --Merlin

Tamara | June 5, 2007 8:26 PM | Reply

I love that show the Tudors...it's addicting. interesting stuff from you so far...come back soon. ;-)

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