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Holiday 2011?

Eddie Mair | 12:17 UK time, Thursday, 23 September 2010

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Gabriel sends these words and pictures:

The Zab River in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. It's beautiful countryside, and... it's pretty safe.

The sheep share the riverbanks with exotic birds: bee-eaters, hoopoes. We even saw a family of wild boar rooting around, though we didn't manage to snap them



Azzam Alwash, the man with the raft. He's an Iraqi American environmentalist who wants to turn Kurdistan into a haven for eco-tourists

The BBC Baghdad Bureau on its first rafting-outing. We feel like pioneers.

We filmed it all, for posterity. But it wasn't easy. Here's Becky Lipscombe, our producer, with improvised waterproof head-cam. (The sound recorder was wrapped in a plastic bag, stuffed in the pocket of her life-jacket)

Moose, the cameraman, blithely jumped into an inflatable kayak with his camera.

But we think the pictures were worth it....

We talk a lot terror in Iraq. This bit was pretty terrifying...

Mike Crane, from Vermont, recently gave up a job doing reconstruction work for the US state department in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace. Now he's hoping to attract foreign oil workers to come to Kurdistan to do this kind of thing in their spare time.

We're certainly the first foreigners these locals have seen floating down the river. They're not too sure about rafting....

...but they did share their seriously impressive picnic with us: dolma - stuffed vegetables and flat breads."

Comments

  • 1. At 1:16pm on 23 Sep 2010, morseman wrote:

    Holidays in boats? Beware! Remember 'Three men in a boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)'...

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  • 2. At 1:20pm on 23 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    How much do these guys get paid to take holidays and report on them? Where does one apply?

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  • 3. At 1:21pm on 23 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I'll take your word for it, Eddie, but it's all a bit too arid for my taste. However, there are places in Iraq that would attract me ...

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  • 4. At 1:23pm on 23 Sep 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    We should all be planning to holiday in the UK. It not only reduces out carbon footprint, but also supports British business, and keep money in the country. What's attractive about sand dunes and a river with barely any vegetation or wildlife?

    But no surprise a journo luvvy thinks Kurdistan is a groovy place to talk about having visited in Hamsptead dinner parties.

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  • 5. At 1:42pm on 23 Sep 2010, U14519596 wrote:

    4. DoctorDolots

    • "talk about having visited in Hamsptead dinner parties."

    and remark that 'it's not spoiled yet, but you can see the signs....'

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  • 6. At 1:44pm on 23 Sep 2010, U14519596 wrote:

    Ecotourism, an oxymoron of the first order!

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  • 7. At 1:52pm on 23 Sep 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    2. First you join the BBC Sue, then other people pay for your holidays. We do get to look at the pictures though...

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  • 8. At 2:01pm on 23 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    DD, holidays in UK all very well unless you crave some sunshine and heat and don't want to risk spending your precious fortnight shivering away somewhere cold and wet.

    I did work for the BBC once-upon-a-time, DD, never got the chance to do such exciting things though.

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  • 9. At 3:12pm on 23 Sep 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    8. Sunshine and heat? We've had a pile of that even in Scotland this year. Trouble is, too many think a holiday must be spent irradiating the body preferably while lying on a bed of sand, no matter that white skin can be badly damaged by it, and sand makes sandwiches uneatable.

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  • 10. At 4:33pm on 23 Sep 2010, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Well, yes, I would like to go back to Iraq. But not now. Perhaps never.

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  • 11. At 5:12pm on 23 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Off to France again this year. Probably the Door-dog-knee.

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  • 12. At 5:45pm on 23 Sep 2010, Beresford Campbell wrote:

    I had a wonderful holiday in Iraq whilst serving in the British Embassy in Baghdad, 1970/71. A small group of friends drove up to the Kurdish region in the North, with overnight stays in the small hotels attached to railway stations en route. The scenery was magnificent, the people friendly and there were no other tourists! We visited Erbil, Mosul and Sulimaniyah. Happy memories!

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  • 13. At 9:06pm on 23 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    DocD@9: your idea of "sunshine and heat" might be rather different from mine (am Ozzie, don't forget). Not a lover of sand based holidays - rather more into culture combined with warmer climes. Sunshine always good but did you get to temperatures of a (IMHO modest) 25C or above? Doubtful. As for "uneatable" did you mean "inedible"?

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  • 14. At 9:11pm on 23 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    So - we may comment about rhubarb and adventure holidays but not about news content - is that it?

    Very good. How much does one need to like turmeric to get along there?

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  • 15. At 9:14pm on 23 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    Doctor Dolots - I request the removal of your comment on Roma the other day. Hope you do not mind; it was straight racism with no other content.

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  • 16. At 01:20am on 24 Sep 2010, jonnie wrote:

    Lovely Photo's - BigSister! I'd trade that climate in for Bournemouth like a flash!

    Do they have Guesthouses there in an Edwardian style I wonder?

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  • 17. At 10:02am on 24 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    LS 13, Possibly indelible.

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