One of these things is not like the others: in many Islamic countries, the ease with with you can slip off your shoes (in order to enter the mosque and pray) is often an indicator of your level of piety. My high top #Clark's do not fit in at the Darbandixan mosque. #kurdistan #iraq #fashion #travelMarch 10th, 2014
"Kaka, let me help you blow those rocks around with an airhose loosely connected to that clanking diesel generator on wheels while the sun sets near the border of Iraq and Iran," is how I imagine this conversation going. Stuck in the dusty and strangely beautiful city of Kalar in one last-ditch attempt to uncover whatever remains of traditional music in Iraqi #Kurdistan. It's 3am, I'm sleeping on a floor and I'm still not sure if we were successful. #travel #photo #existentialdoubtMarch 9th, 2014
It looks like hell but it was really a perfect day for a picnic. #kurdistan #mountain #iraq #fridaynight #nature #filterabuseMarch 7th, 2014
Nokaw: Chickpeas cooked in fat with spices, lemon juice and bread. A lunch you and your lower intestine will never forget. The official fuel of Sulaymaniah's bazaar workers. #kurdistan #iraq #food #travel #photoMarch 6th, 2014
Hot, dusty, quiet, all beige everything. Suddenly, a bouquet of Chinese plastic shit, hauled along by a very old man with a very loud voice. My new street in #kurdistan. #iraq #street #color.March 6th, 2014
Iraj was exhausted. An Iranian refugee, he has been living in Sulaymaniah for the past five years, selling sweets at the bazaar. But the economy has tanked over an oil disagreement with Baghdad, and yesterday Iraj made $9 after 10 hours of work. “I used to sing at the end of the day because I sold everything. Now I sing so I don’t think of how bad I did.”
Early morning at the bazaar. You find strange and beautiful humans and objects in forgotten Kurdish antique shops.
Syrian refugees sell tea, tobacco and, now that it’s spring, flowers, to Nepali and Bangladeshi migrant workers living in Iraqi Kurdistan. Check the post called “Wasted with the Bangladeshi Mafia” below for more info on what’s going on here…
The man said while waving his binoculars. We didn’t share language so I just sat near him and watched him chug two cups of tea before hobbling off into the sunset. So many pictures of crusty old men. But that’s because I’m not allowed within a city block of women with a camera. So until centuries-old social mores change, get used to wrinkles and cigarettes.
On Friday, Kurdistan’s migrant workers finally rest. And, apparently, get utterly wasted with mustachioed American dudes.
Madness and lethargy meet in Middle Eastern government buildings. How can so many people, moving so slowly, fuck things up so comprehensively?
One of few remaining members of the Kakai religious sect living near the border of Iraq and Iran. The Kakai play ecstatic music on the tanbur. This man claimed he had songs inspired by the birds. But he wouldn’t play them for outsiders.
We had a barbecue and he gave vague answers to all our questions because “you can’t give these news people everything they want. They won’t understand anyway.” A wise man.
Spring time in the mountains of Kurdistan. But don’t be fooled, these abandoned villages near Halabja are remnants of Saddam’s Al Anfal campaign. The villages still have people living in them part time, but the traditional lifestyle is more or less gone.
Kak Khabat, live at the barbecue. We were in the mountains near Halabja, where the Kakai Shiite related sect live and practice. We couldn’t get anyone to play the Kakai’s transcendent tanbur music on camera, but we listened close and had an ill mountaintop BBQ.
Kirkuk’s star bike racing team. Not a lot for young guys to do in this town, and nowhere to ride, so they practice stationary all day.