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.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Park Life Iraqi Style

Another great day here in Iraq. We returned to the regional capital Erbil and being a Friday, which is a holiday here we did what Iraqis do on a Friday and went to the park. When I say park I don’t mean a grotty little bit of grass with some trees and a few people kicking a ball about (though there was that as well). Oh no, I mean a park that has a train to get about on, lakes with dancing, multi-coloured fountains, fake caves filled with Mona Lisas’ (I rather suspect these were fake too), the biggest and best childrens playground I’ve ever seen (yes, better than any in Europe), a cable car that must be a kilometre or so long, a skate/BMX park (seriously!) and zillions of very noisy and very colourful wedding parties most of whom wanted us to come and join in (and if we’d hung about any longer we may have been expected to marry a relative or two). Yes, no matter how you look at it, not just are the Iraqi’s amazingly friendly (the amount of times people ‘forget’ to make us pay is amazing), but it’s also the tackiest place I have ever been – and that’s just great with me!!

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