Baghdad – My first impressions
It has been a week since my arrival in Baghdad. I came to Baghdad to attend the Baghdad International Fair taking place from November 1st to November 10th. Meanwhile, it has been decided that I will relocate to Baghdad because of my job.
Upon my arrival at Baghdad International Airport I was expecting to hear explosions and gunfire, but everything was rather calm. I was sitting down at a coffee shop just outside the airport building and I was looking around me thinking any moment a group of people would arrive and kidnap me. Isn’t that what we see every day on television? For Iraqis my view on Iraq is funny. Whenever I sit in the car, I lock the doors. Whenever I walk in the streets of Baghdad City I observe everyone around me. Iraqis see me and laugh. I was imagining the wild wild west, but I found a normal city, a normal lifestyle and normal people.
There was just one incident with a security guard loosing it and emptying his AK47 in the air. Oh gosh, I was terrified. I was crying. My Iraqi friends were making fun of me. It’s no big deal. I grew up in Belgium. Police officers wear a revolver, but I never even saw one pulling his gun. And now all of a sudden, one crazy guy thinking he is Rambo made be feel insecure for the rest of the day. The whole day Iraqi officials came to apologize and assured me that Iraq is a safe place. I guess time will tell.
What I love in Iraq is the Iraqi people. They have been through so much misery and wars and still they are amazing. I have never been surrounded by people who are so much giving and caring for a stranger.
Unfortunately I didn’t have much chance to do sight seeing because work is currently absorbing all of my time, but in the upcoming weeks I’m planning to visit Imam Kadhom, Kerbala, Najaf and maybe Babylon. I can’t wait. This is the cradle of civilization and I want to see all of it.