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The Road to Halabja Part V – Penniless in Iraq

This is the next guest post in a series by Kevin Post. If you want to guest post on Go Backpacking, please read more here.

I ran out of money and hadn’t eaten regularly the past few days, and when I did eat, it was very little in 24 hour intervals.

Due to the excitement of traveling to a very foreign destination, I didn’t feel hungry, but I did feel that my body lacked proteins, sugars, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, and it goes without saying that I didn’t have a lot of energy or relief from occasional headaches.

Sometimes when I get excited I completely forget about ‘what-ifs’. In Southeastern Turkey I was having such a phenomenal experience and spent very little money; therefore it didn’t occur to me that I should have withdrawn money before crossing the boarder into Iraq.

I was in the house alone with a Turkish engineer while I used the computer to send some e-mails to my friends back in Turkey. According to the Turkish engineer, it was too dangerous for me to leave the house so I spent the entire day in the house hungry and uneventfully wasting time on Couchsurfing and sending e-mails.

The following morning I was incredibly hungry and decided that Iraq wasn’t a safe place for me to be.

I gave the Turk my Colombian poncho as a gift though I’m not sure why, and excused myself to take a shower. I took my time in the shower because there is noting better than a nice cold shower in a hot, arid climate.

When I got out of the shower I was greeted by several of the Turk’s co-workers, all of whom were Kurds.

They seemed happy to meet me and excited to see an American visiting their homeland. A Kurd that I particularly got along with was Ahmed, who I later found out was the owner of the engineering firm.

I asked them if there was an ATM nearby, and they looked at me as if I were crazy for asking such a question.

Ahmed was nice enough to have his chauffeur take me to the nearest ATM.

None of the ATMs worked, but I enjoyed seeing the majority of the city with my own private driver. I was in Iraq with no money, at a very frightening time with full-on war just kilometers away.

I had to somehow get to the Turkish boarder without a single penny in my pocket.


Series: The Road to Halabja

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