This is the blog of journalist, Lonely Planet author and photographer Stuart Butler. It features news and travel updates from the regions in which Stuart works, including northeast Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan), Yemen and Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Wow, what a day! Finally after many, many adventures with Air France strikes (they really are a crap airline!) and snow we finally made it to Iraq!

I’m in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and have therefore naturally spent the day ice-skating! Oh yes, the zillion year old citadel was interesting, the museums were, well actually they were quite dull, the souks were, well like souks anywhere else in the Middle East and so I went to the Family Mall, a huge shopping complex with everything you’d expect to find in Iraq – coffee shops, wireless internet, Mango, Adidas and other chain shops, a fun fair complete with roller coasters and big wheels and a 5D cinema (that’s 3D plus movement and water spraying over you) where I watched a ‘horror’ movie and a 9D cinema – though I have no real idea what the other 4D’s are, an amusement arcade full of Iraqi children playing shoot, kill, death computer games, a large train chugging children about and, of course, an ice-skating rink. Now if only all shopping malls were such fun

Tomorrow I scoot eastwards to Sulamaniya for a day or two before returning to Erbil for a couple more days.


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  2. hi how are u i'm Ammar u saw me in arbil(family mall) in skiing. i can not find ur name on facebook can you find my name in it :)

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  4. Ammar_sasoky (in fd).our, (in yahoo)