Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Let's Talk Hotels and Spring Cleaning

Dia duit! (Hello in Irish)

Who wants some late night blogging?!
On my way to Ishtar Hotel, I expected to find a wreck. I came dressed ready for a wreck. How do you dress for a wreck? I don’t know, maybe dress like me. 

My hair was tied back and my shoes were muddy from the Iraqi soil. My jeans were tiered from the dirty wind and my shirt, well my shirt is brand new. I got it for only $15 in Slamani last week. What a bargain! 

We  passed through 1,2,3,4,5,6 maybe 7, not sure about 7, checkpoints, and then a last one which really annoyed me. They kept asking dim questions like the ones I ask when get really tiered at 2:00am in the morning/night, I think you call it hallucinating, but anyway, questions like 

“What are you going to do?”

“I have a meeting.” 

“What are you going to do in the meeting?”

“Meet with people.” 

But I guess they have to ask questions for our and their safety. Thank you angry guy, although I don’t blame him for being angry, it was like 38oC that hour and we were fortunate to go from air coned car to semi- air coned lobby. 

 I liked the lobby: it was nice. It had the atmosphere of a Hotel in it but lacked little bits and bots. It took us some time to find the front door which was full of police cars all the way to the main street. Good security. 
Nascafe. I wanted something with chocolate in it. Ah well :)

When you walk in, there is a big fountain of a lady extending her arms in welcome. Her hands are spitting water and the palms have gone black with fungi.  But before that, a man welcomed us inside with a smile and a helping point of the hands to the Lobby. 

Not much more to say about Ishtar hotel, I never thought I’d say this but it’s a normal hotel.
Although the ride back home is much more interesting. 

The cab driver, who stopped nearby to drop of an elderly couple, was thrilled to get another pair of passengers in the same hour. The excessive amount of cab drivers in one square kilometre in any area is all of Baghdad is probably more than the sand grains in all the playgrounds in the world. You see something yellow swishing past you every minute and beeps of horns and shouts of de Yallah 3ad! Come on already! 

This cab driver had two jobs: One as an important person with a job I will not name and the other as a cab driver. 

“How embarrassing it is to be a cab driver with that degree.”

It saddened me when he said this but reassured him,

“shinsawy la3ad?” “What are we to do?”

What I noticed about Baghdadis and maybe other people from other parts of Iraq, is that they have more than one job only to support their families. One job doesn’t bring food to the table. Although food is quire cheap, Baghdadi’s worry about electricity and the power cuts in summer. Baghdadi’s worry about the safety of their kids. A girl that looks my age walks past cab and begs us to buy chewing gum. 

“5atia.” “Poor you.” (I don’t like using that word: poor, but I didn’t know what to say. I was speechless.)

I smile at her. She smiles back. That’s all I could give her.
I grew up learning that Iraq was a rich country. I’m speechless these days. 

 Iraq was beautiful with straight roads and streets. The war made the streets bumpy and nothing we can do about the past. But why do you build on top of the past? There is still rubbish from the war that you have not cleaned up. Why do you build an entire future on top of that? It’s like sweeping the ground and hiding the dirt under the carpet. It’s still there. It’s not going anywhere. Iraq used to have a foundation with a brand called Beauty. Now the only brand is rubbish and dirt. Dirt swept under the Arabian carpet that you used to play with. The same Arabian carpet that you, as a kid, would pretend that the lines and arches where roads and follow the roads with your eyes to see where it ends.
Why does nobody listen? Can you please listen? Pick up a can or a wrapper or a plastic bag or a bottle cap or a cigarette butt and put it in the bin. No matter where you are in the whole wide world, can you do that, please? Make the world’s foundation a brand of Beauty and build the future using the brand of Brilliance and Hope and Love and Peace and everything nice and sweet.  Don’t ignore an Iraqi girls dreams.

Yemima who sings this cover of Beyonce's Listen, is from Taiwan! Suscribe, like and share her and her brother's YouTube!