We took a very nice tour from Baghdad to Basrah by car. The countryside is pretty amazing, from the relative lushness of the fertile crescent to the desert sands of the south to the marshes of the deep south and the distant flare gas fires on the horizon.
Normal flare gas
[quicktime width=”560″ height=”310″]http://www.blackrosetech.com/gessel/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/blowout.mov[/quicktime]
Ut oh, blow out…
Who would’a thunk a little site like dis.org, the on-line clubhouse for a few bay area computer types, would make both the barracuda block list and the UAE block list. How cool is that?
If you’re not in the UAE: here’s the block list http://www.etisalat.ae/assets/document/blockcontent.pdf
And if you’re inappropriately blocked: http://www.etisalat.ae/index.jsp?type=proxy
Baghdad was the recipient of Saddam’s largess (and the PLO too), but the south wasn’t really on the nice list and has been a cross roads for conflict for a long time, which has left a mark on the landscape.
Finally, conclusive evidence of the presence of whole trays of yellow cake in Iraq, and at extremely low prices, well within the reach of any organization.
Saddam managed to build a fairly pretty complex here, with lots of artificial lakes (originally filled with potable water). Along one of those lakes is the Gates of Babylon restaurant. The food is excellent and the adjoining room is a hookah bar. The Nex5 does a pretty good job at night.
The palace is pretty inside, though the construction is legendarily shoddy and parts of the palace are starting to disintegrate as salt in the sand mixed in with the concrete disintegrates it. The main hall is quite dramatic with a three story chandelier.