Monday, March 17, 2003

Here we go then. The smart money is on hostilities starting on Wednesday night. I’ll believe it when it happens but we need to be completely ready.

While the politicians engage on a final frantic round of diplomacy, here in Sulaymaniyah we’re engaging in a final frantic round of preparations. Today’s been a big logistics day – checking the generator and all the equipment, sorting out the safety gear, squinting at maps and discussing routes to Baghdad and Kirkuk, and ordering great big signs for the trucks with “TV” written on them in metre high letters so the Yanks don’t take a pop at us (or take aim at us, depending on what sort of mood they're in).

More importantly, I left without any music to listen to in the jeep and I can’t bear that Kurdish crap so I went to the bazaar to pick up some CDs. They had a shockingly poor selection of dodgy western copies, but I didn’t have any choice. It wouldn’t be my first choice of war zone tunes but I came away with Eminen, Madonna, Pink and – it gets worse – Shakira, Britney Spears and Craig David. 5 dinars – or 50p – each. I know it’s shite but it’s all they had.

I also took my life in my hands by visiting a Kurdish barber. I took Rabeen, the translator, with me so the hairdresser didn’t make a mistake and think I wanted a perm. There was the usual flurry of “Eeeeenglish – Michael Owen, Daveeeed Beckham” pleasantries when I went in. The old smoothy barber claimed that “I’ve only ever seen this style in the movies, I’ve never done one before.” Yeah, right. Fair play, he didn’t do a bad job….if a little short. And for 20 Dinar – two quid – I’m not going to complain.


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