IRAQ – a few day set back could not ruin how amazing I was treated

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FIRST OFF I WOULD LIKE TO SAY HONESTLY THAT THE COUNTRY OBVIOUSLY HAS FLAWS DOESNT EVERY COUNTRY. I TRULY DID NOT FEEL IN ANY SORT OF DANGER AT ANY TIME. THE ONLY TIME I HAD EVEN A SLIGHT SPECULATION OF MY SAFETY IT WAS DUE TO THE SOLDIERS JOKING AROUND OR SUGGESTING IT WAS DANGEROUS. BUT AS SOON AS I WAS BACK ON MY BIKE AND RIDING NEVER ONCE DID I GIVE IT ANOTHER THOUGHT. PEOPLE SMILED WAVED AND EVERYONE WANTED TO TALK TO ME LIKE MOST MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES. WERE ALL THE SAME SOME JUST HAVE A HARDER LIFE BUT NO REASON FOR ANY OF US TO BE SCARED OF WHAT WE DO NOT TRULY KNOW OR WILLING TO UNDERSTAND

3rd of Nov – Got up early and made my directly south to Iraq.  On my way out of the city of Batman, Turkey I ran into

The Shephard and his Sheep

a shepherd who literally had easily a thousand of sheep he was walking.  I had to stop and grab a photo of this because I have came across multiple scenarios like this but never to this amount.  Got back on the bike and made my way to the border.  Gas was cheap in Turkey so I stop to fill up before crossing in to Iraq mainly cause I did not know if I would be exchange money at the border and if any gas stations in iraq would accept credit cards.  Getting stamped out of turkey was super simple and thankfully all the speeding tickets I got did not show up so I did not have to pay those.  Getting into iraq I passed the cars and moved to the front of the line.  I was directed to go to a covid trailer but that was not happening so I asked a person in line which way to immigration.  He pointed me to a building.  This is the first time I have ever had to go inside for immigration when driving across a border.  Inside was a mad house and I guess thats why they want you to go to the covid trailer cause no one wears mask and I could not stop laugh and feel happy that everyone was just hacking away. (Found out later probably cause these

Made it into Kurdistan Iraq

fuckers smoke not as much as the damn europeans but def heavy smokers).  First line I go to they just give me like a plastic card and tell me to get in line 2. While I was in line 2 nearing the front I see a kid who clearly spoke English look lost.  He walked outside came back in with money in his hand which obviously mean he was lost cause he needed to exchange money I guess.  When he walked back in I ask him did he have to get money exchange to buy the visa.  Of course I kinda knew that answer and yes that was the case.  Now im up to the immigration line and seee I obviously got to do the same thing.  Get money exchange come back in he takes my money hands it to the guy next to him.  About 5 mins go by he scribbles some stuff in my passport and im in or I was only that lucky.  Next stop not sure what it even was customs I am guessing but they didn’t do anything gave me a paper and told me to go to where the taxis are under a orange roof.  I needed to get back on the bike to get there so as I put put around I finally see the orange roof cruise on over.  Walk into door one she tells me to go to door 2. (At this point its reminding me a lot of Central America nothing is labeled everyone is just telling you to go somewhere).   Door 2 is closed and no one is at the window.  Finally a guy asked if anyone is in there I say no and said one minute I will call him.  Eventually the guy comes over he must of been on the shitter or something cause I can clearly see in the window food water and tea so he did not leave for any of that.  Anyways he takes a look ever my bike plate number and vin number fills out this long form and afterwards tells me to go over to that building go right as soon as you enter.  So I walk a bit to go to this building walk in go instantly right hand this guy the paper that I was just handed.  He does not say anything but takes it he goes to a computer starts doing more shit with this paper.  Then goes to someone else hands after that happens the guy comes to the window and talks to me about my travels.  Not sure if he was Iranian or not but was really interested in the fact I went to Iran.  Finally a form was printed he hand me it and said ok you’re good to go.  That whole ordeal took me 2hrs but on the road in

Iraq I finally am.  When I found out I was going to iraq I was caught off on what the heck am I to do what city to go to I know nothing I did not think I would of been going through iraq mainly just cause I did not think I could.  I found some water falls and some museums to go to in the north but found one really interesting things that caught my eye.  It was Saddam Hussein palace at the top of a mountain.  This was only a hour an half away from the border so of course I was going in fact I even bought myself an adult beverage to drink when I get there.  The road up to his place was nothing but switch backs im sure during his time it was probably insanely beautiful but also he probably flew a helicopter in cause you go through this small town to get to it therefore everyone would of had to know he was coming.  I get to the top and instantly see several military guys coming rolling out of this palace.  From all the photos I saw and read I thought this place was going to be empty.  Hell I even thought I might camp up there for the night but clearly was denied that idea when I saw that.  I can’t be the only person they saw today or even this week so I said fuck it I will just drive to the top if im told to leave I will leave if not I will get my photos and enjoy the views.   Needless to say no one said a damn thing to me in fact one guy who was not in military gear came down to put a ladder in one of the trucks there.  I was about 50ft from the guys so I kinda hand signal can I come up.  They just smile and stared back at me so I dont know if they understood what I was trying to communicate with them or not.  These views were absolutely incredible but the clouds were coming in because it was about an hour or so from sunset.  Sadly the photos I took will give it absolutely no justice at all.  I got back on the bike  and made my way to the city of Erbil.  Its always enjoyable reading the bullshit propaganda about certain countries where not only does it give you a level 4 warning and not to go but it says if you do go dont be out at night.  Well guess what my ass is riding my motorcycle the first night in cause well just the way things work and never once did I feel sketched out at all.  In fact coming into the city of Erbil at night I would suggest to anyone coming to that city.  It was unreal that place just is completely lit up like your in Vegas.  I end up getting to my hotel around 8ish while the sunset is at 5.  Now I haven’t ate a single thing all day so I check in and ask right away where to go to eat food.  The guy suggest a place about a 10min walk down the road.  Here we go again out prowling the streets in darkness in the o so bad country of iraq.  I am not sure if this was the restaurant I was told to go to or not but god damn the food was incredible and ate way to much of it.  Afterwards got back to my hotel and started to write this blog.

4th of Nov – I know I did some half ass wash in the shower a few days ago but I only cleaned my riding gear mainly cause that shit starts to stink lol.  Now my clothes have not been washed so I dedicated this day to laundry day and was on the hunt for a rear tire.  I know I should be find for my time here in iraq but I would think by the time I exit I am going to need to have this thing replaced.  Got laundry dropped off around 11 said it was going to be done around 1-2 I figured I be back by 2 during this time I searched around.  With no luck on anything I found not he internet from different motorcycle blogs and what not I kinda just said fuck it I will figure it out when the time comes.  Got my laundry around 230 just to be safe it was completely done came back to the hotel packed it all up

View from the Citadel down on the square

and thought it is time to at least go see something.  The center of Erbil is and old citadel so like castle for you and I no top of this hill or mound for that matter.  I rode the bike over parked and made my walk to the top.  There was a few museums listed to see at the top but when I got there it seemed like everything was closed.  The museums were nothing I was really interested in in the first place it was a textile museum gem stone museum stuff like that.  I walked through the Main Street of the citadel to the other side as it opened up to this beautiful water fountain down below and bazaar around all the sides.  Got some photos and made my way down to the fountain into the thick of

Learned real fast Iraq loved Tea

things.  Instantly see a juice guy so had to grab some of that fresh made juice can never get enough of that shit.  The guy told me to have a seat which opened the doors for all the kids to Come up to me and ask for photos.  after my photoshoot with the youngsters I was on the hunt for a sd card for my gps to download some of these middle eastern maps onto my device (Garmin charges 100$ a map so fuck Garmin but there is other sites can download them for 10$ that usually work better). Found my sd card and I started to cruise back through the one bazaar I ran into the kid that I talked with at the border.  He was traveling with a girl who he met in Bulgaria earlier this year.  They said they just click the first 15mins and he said how he was going to iraq beginning of nov and if she would want to meet him there.  She said yes and now here they are traveling together through iraq.  We talked a bit in the bazaar and I asked if they were hungry and wanted to sit down and eat.  They agreed so we were off trying to find food.  Come to find out the guy was 22 from Spain but not only spoke English he spoke arabic as well. (Side note love to hate kids like this lol not coming from a ignorant ass country like the usa and knowing all these languages)  Although Northern Iraq speaks Kurdish they

the bazaar in Erbil

know arabic so he was able to communicate with people.  We end up getting shawarma and realized it was only 70 cents which made me thing damn I must of ate some expensive food last night cause mine was 14$.  After our little snack we did some more walking the girl was interested in getting money exchange and they were talking about going back towards the place they were staying which was opposite from my motorcycle.  It has been dark at this time and seem like traffic was getting worst and worst probably cause it cooled down a lot I am guessing.  None the less I decided I go back and find my bike let them two be and head towards my hotel.

5th of Nov – Okay so I kinda knew this situation when coming to Iraq that the country was divided.  Like I mentioned the north before I could have visited the south I could not have.  Now the city of Mosul was the capital for Isis so needless to say I wanted to go visit this city.  Mosul even though it is in the north its not part of Kurdish side.  It was only a hour an half from Erbil but I got on the road early in the morning because I did not know what kinda situation I would get myself into.  I pass through the Kurdish side to the Iraqi side and things come to a halt.  I pull over to the side they ask where do I want to go.  I tell them they said but you have no visa just Kurdistan visa.  I understood this so I asked can I get my visa here he said no you have to fly to Baghdad to get the visa which I kinda figured was going to be the response.  As I sit there going through this whole process two riders on gs come into Kurdistan.  When I turn around they wave to me pull over I pull over and there is two bikes but three people and are from Baghdad.  Two speak very little English so we use the phone and try to translate back and forth of the situation.  I knew what I needed to do to get the visa but they seem like they had a better idea an wanted me to go to the usa embassy which definitely was not going to happen fuck the usa embassy worthless fucks they are.  After going back and forth they are persisting I needed to get approval from usa to get my visa for Southern Iraq.  Some how they finally gave up on cause there was no way I would ever resort to trying to talk anyone in the usa embassy ever again after my other three experiences with those idiots.  They ask where do I go I said back to Erbil they said we come with you.  Now all three of us on our way back to the Kurdistan side.  Now this time they get stop cause there from the Iraqi side but guess cause they were with me they let them slide or something cause they seemed super happy when they entered smiling and pumping there fist.   We talked about getting food so we ended up back into the city center I was yesterday.  Now I wanted to fly to Baghdad today and get back here so I can drive my motorcycle to Baghdad tomorrow.  These guys like to talk and go in circles though lol.  We finally eat after having a good 30min conversation at one of few tables in the restaurant that was extremely busy and no one could sit down.  Finally they get up the one guy paid for my meal but now they were on a hunt for some shisha.  They just wanted to hang out but I wanted to make sure I get this dang visa lol.  I tell them through the app hey guys I dont mean to

My new friends from Iraq

leave but I want to get back to my hotel get on some wifi and search up flights to Baghdad before it gets to late.  I end up leaving from them around 230 and get back to my hotel. I see there are a few flights to Baghdad but on there damn website it says to call cause it is the day of.   I try to do that no answer I go to the front desk to see if they can help.  They said fri is there weekend a lot of places are closed already to buy a plane ticket.  I ask can I go to the airport and buy they say I can not.  So now im like what the heck I see there are flight tomorrow to buy but no flights back to erbil the same day so I have to stay the night in Baghdad.  Situations like this you just have to roll with it no reason to get upset its just the way other countries work and you have to adapt to there laws and way of life.  I truly did not mind considering I am happy I am able to still ride when I thought my trip was going to end a few days ago.  Okay back to the flight so yeah I try to buy online and it comes up with a error says payment is not suitable online.   So what the heck to do now.  I go tot the front desk ask him what to do he said tomorrow at 9 maybe 10 there is a Iraqi airways up the street about ten minutes you buy your flight there.  Well guess that is what needs to be done.  I go back to my room book a hotel in Baghdad for tomorrow and decide to start packing my bike up cause I am going to leave it at the hotel since I will be in Baghdad tomorrow.  Around 7 I head to the mall up the street to get some food.  Do not think I have mentioned there is a lot of Nepal and Indian people who work at the hotel so I figured there had to be some Indian food around here and sure enough there was a fast food place in the mall.  I was impressed with the usa fast food chains they had here.  There was kfc which was not all that weird but they had Churches Chicken.  I know not everyone knows about it but they kinda everywhere out west just as much KFC are for sure.  Anyways I get my Indian food and that came out to 11$ so I realized the food I ate yesterday and probably early today was just really cheap cause this was fast food I mean it was amazing but food my first night was in a nice restaurant and was not much more.

6th of Nov – Well got up at 9 am like I planned went downstairs to ask them about the Iraqi airways store if it is open.  He said it should be I said should be or you think I should wait till 10am he said yeah wait till 10.  I go up to the second floor and grab the free breakfast and kill time there playing on my phone and drinking there tea.  Ten comes around and I make the stroll ten mins up the road to finally find the Iraqi airways store.  It looked closed from the outside literally not one car in the parking lot but it look as though lights were on inside.  I push the door and sure enough they were open but not one person was inside.  I have a seat on the seats before a lady comes out and ask if I need help.  I tell her I need to buy a ticket to Baghdad and if possible fly back tonight.  She tells me it is not possible to fly back the same day it would have to be Sunday.  There was only one flight left to Baghdad and it left at 320 so of course with out much of an option I take the flight.  She also mentioned the only flight back Sunday is at 720am.  Did not seem like I had much of option that would have to do as well.  She books me the ticket but says I can not use card cash only.  I said can you reserve it I will come back with cash she said yeah no problem ill book it and give you your receipt bring me money.  Now I thought that was awesome but odd at the same time she booked me a flight without me giving her a dollar the flight is almost sold out shit if that was a usa they be like sorry no money no flight.  Anyways I go back to my hotel and hurry back down to giver there the 208$ for my roundtrip flight to Baghdad.  It was about 11 at this time so I had an hour to relax in the room till the 12pm checkout.  When 12 hit I

Erbil tiny airport

went down stairs to load up my bike since it will be sitting overnight here at the hotel.  I take my time cause it is still 3hrs away till my flight but after I finish the bike I tell them to call me a taxi.  Taxi comes and off to the airport we go.  Now this was a first time experience with an airport like this so you walk through this front part they make sure you have a ticket voucher or a receipt.  You go through metal detector and security like it would be TSA afterwards you go to this lobby.  A bus pulls up you get on the bus it takes you about 5min drive to the actual departures.  Walk in another TSA type screening then you go to your respected airline to check in.  Then immigration but since I was flying domestic you still had to go through this.  Afterwards another actual TSA screening and inside the airport your finally are waiting for your gate.  They had beer at the airport and food now I did snack on breakfast 4hrs ago but the sandwich desert combo look good so I had to get that and of course a beer.  All of it was 7$ yes only 7$ which is what a beer alone would

all this rushing for this little visa

cost in the states.  Finally get to my gate and off to Baghdad we go.  As I filled out the form to get my visa for souther iraq a girl form the usa was flying by herself as she had difficulty with a visa she thought she had.  From what I gathered she must of gotten her visa in the usa and thought it was good for 6 months but it was only good for 30 days well she arrived in iraq after 30 days so therefore her visa was no good.  So she had to re do the whole process over again.  It took maybe 10 minutes and I had my visa grab my taxi and to my hotel I went for the night.  I arrived around 6 so got in and started to do more of my blog and crash out early.

7th of Nov – WHAT A DAY THIS WOULD TURN INTO – front desk told me

Baghdads crazy airport

at 4am the taxi was going to arrived I walk downstairs at 350 and sure as shit taxi is already there waiting for me.  Now it was pretty damn chilly in the morning and he had the window down the whole time to the airport.  So I sat in the back at 4 am shivering and tired.  We finally arrived at the airport and what a spectacle this place was.  The ceiling was fucking crazy as shit looking.  Now I think the photo looks crazy but in person it was even more crazy.  I get checked in and go through security like you would with any airport nothing like the one in Erbil.  They had a big open seating area in the center and then all around the center was the gates.  One of the immigration officer must of thought I looked interesting he came over talking to me.  He saw the rock n roll hand on my neck and said hell yeah Satan im like eh yeah rock n roll metal hand.  He is like no its okay im atheist that’s why I know.  We talk I tell him I am coming back to Baghdad tonight on my motorcycle.  So he

My new friend who would come in handy

insisted we exchange numbers and I hit him up if I have any issue and when I get back in Baghdad we will go find beers.  Finally my flight is called load up on the plan and back to Erbil I go.  Exit the airport was super easy because I already had the visa for Northern Iraq so got checked and back to a taxi and back to the hotel where Bernard is sleeping.  It is a short distance from the airport so get to my bike around 845am at this point.  I change my clothes there in the parking lot throw up Baghdad on my gps and was leaving Erbil by 910am.  It was pretty much a direct shot to Baghdad and that’s a good thing cause I either put them on the gps wrong or the maps are just shit. There is constant signs the whole time to let you know which way you need to go to Baghdad.  About 45 mins out of Erbil I leave Kurdistan and enter Iraq.  They of course pull me to the side and ask what I plan on doing.  I tell them going to the city of Kirkuk take some photos grab food and continue south to Baghdad.  He makes a call and eventually lets me go.  Shortly after I arrived in Kirkuk there was a huge statue right in the middle of the roads when you enter with a guy holding the Iraqi flag.  The only thing I knew that was here was a citadel or castle so cruised over to that got a photo from a far.  It did not look like much and I could not figure out how to get over to it so I kinda thought that was good enough and started on the hunt for food.  As I was leaving the city found a tiny little place on the side of the road.  Park

the bike and walked in to get some lunch.  Normally I do not eat this early but I  been up since 4am and it is now 11am so I was hungry already.  From what I believe was the owner came up to me speaking perfect English I order my food and we talked for a bit.  The food was massive and god damn was it delicious I actually was not able to eat it all but had a little bit of everything some pasta French fries two types of meat some veggies and of course they like there bread here.  He gave me a Iraqi tea I paid the bill and went outside to leave.  We exchange facebook names said our good byes and carried on south.  Passed a few military check point but around145 away from Baghdad I get stopped and this is when things got weird lol.  Now I was just in Baghdad last night (Saturday) but apparently there was protest were a bunch of people got injured Friday and guess a drone attack on the prime minister yesterday as in Saturday the day I arrived.  The military police took me to the side to this container where a sergeant or someone sat.  They explained to me I can not go to Baghdad cause of attacks and with a usa passport he symbolized a gun and pointed it at me and said dead. He said militia not good not like usa.  I said I understand but he did not understand so we went to the good old google translator.   I told him I know the risk and I want to continue to Baghdad.  They laughed and said he loves usa citizen and its his job to make sure im safe and he can not let me go.  I said I understand smiled and said can I call my friend and he talk to you.  This is when I resorted to the guy I met in the airport might help me here.  I text him tell him the situation the guy sitting with me kept saying call him call him.  So I do call him and they talk when they get off the phone nothing really change he kept saying sorry.  I sit there clearly probably looking bummed out texting the guy to ask what was said.  He said he explained that I know the risk you been traveling the world that everyday is a risk.  He said he told the officer I have my visa that he has to let me pass if I want to cause I am not doing nothing wrong.  So that made me smile getting that guys number helped me out now to convince this officer.  On google translator he said “are you keen to really go”. I explain to him I am I do not want to live in fear I believe in people are better then we make them out to be.  He smiles at my message and writes back “you might be crazy but if your keen to go I have to let you go”. I smile back and said hey the odds of not being killed today are better then the odds of dying from covid and im still here with no vaccine.  He laughs and says without text ok Baghdad you go. 

last military checkpoint before entering Baghdad

I said Baghdad and point in the direction of Baghdad and say I go.  He shakes his head and says yes smiles but shakes his head like im stupid.  So after about an hour ordeal I am finally back on my bike and continue heading south.  OF course I am kinda sketched out and nervous but this is what I want to do and I am going to do it.  I truly would be happy to die doing what I love then miserable old piece of shit like everyone who wants to live forever.   About 45mins later another military stop now these people are dressed different.  Now of course I think this might be the militia group cause I do not know what the fuck they wear but it looks similar too every other military checkpoint.  Again I get off and go to a container were a sergeant is in.  This guy speaks pretty damn clear English so no translation is needed.  While im sitting there a guy comes in and take a photo of me which made it kinda odd.  They all are laughing and he explains the danger of this country and ask why am I in his country.  In those exact words which obviously made me feel uncomfortable.  I explain my trips he looks at my passport and see Iran and says you didn’t get arrested I said no and show him photos.  He then see pakistan and says no Taliban I again said no and was showing him photos.  He explains your country safe but racist our country not racist we its not exactly safe.  I tell him I understand the situation and let him know how amazing my trip has been so far.  He then says well I welcome you and I hope you have a great rest of the trip and says you can go.  So back on the bike once again.  20km from the city again another check point again get taken to the side and walk into this building.  Everyone was smiles instantly wanted to take selfies with me and out comes this guy who says you guys all taking selfies.  He does the same questions of my trip I tell him he said he welcomes me and said he hopes I have amazing time in his beautiful country. When I go back outside there is literally like 10 military guys around the bike all trying to take photos with me but one guy was a Debbie downer said okay go .  I get on the bike pull around the dog search station the boss was there said stop and said smile and takes a photo of me to.  He smiles and says enjoy.  So after all that nervousness like always things were just fine.  I will say this is the third time I ever was semi sketched out though but again what are the odds me out of all people they randomly come across.  Finally arrive at my hotel at 5pm after 13hrs of traveling.  I book the same hotel I stayed at last night so when I walked in the door with my bike gear there faces all lit up and welcome me back.  Did not need my id or anything and instantly gave me a room key and moved my bike into a garage.  Got in showered and instantly had to write down all of the days festivities.  Grub some food and call it a night.

8th of Nov – My plan for the day was to Get a rear tire for my bike.   Not sure if I mentioned but the guys who I met in Mosul on the 5th are from Baghdad so they suggested they would take me to get a tire.  Around 9 got packed and grabbed my bike and made my way over to his place.  He did not feel like riding so he hopped on the back of

Some Morning Traffic

Bernard and we made out way into the city on a hunt for a new tire.  I had plenty of options to actually choose from but unfortunately they were all used.  I was planning on leaving the country in a few days and they said yeah Kuwait Saudi and or Jordan you should be able to find a new one there so no problem.  After our tire shopping we grabbed some food while we were eating he offered me to stay the night at his place and hang out for his brothers wedding.  Although I like to consider him a friend now in reality he is still a stranger so I thought that was amazing he even thought to ask me to come.  I could not pass up the opportunity to take this experience in.   I did have plans today to at least see something here in Baghdad so I asked if we can go to the famous monument and the Iraqi museum.  He said its not a problem but unfortunately it was one at this point and said the museum closes at 2 so maybe we just go to the monument and tomorrow I could go to the museum.  Did not really have a choice so of course this sounded good

The Massive Baghdad monument

to me.  We made our way over to the monument which was absolutely masssive and beautifully done right on the river.  Truly think it may have been his first time there as well because he seem to really enjoy it as well.  Like most middle eastern he would not let me pay for my dinner and or the entry into the monument.  We then made our way back to his house but got caught up in some serious traffic.  Think it took us a half an hour to get into the city and I think it took almost 2hrs to get back to his place.  I had all my motorcycle gear on today because I was planning on getting the tire hit up the museums and monument and make my way south.  Since I am not staying at his place and going to be at his brothers wedding I needed to shower in which he offered me as soon as well got back.  Got cleaned up and changed into the only decent clothes I have.  Around 6 he started to set up all these chairs up on the street.  Of course I am confused I thought we were going to a wedding but join in and set up all the chairs.  Later

My little buddy at the wedding

a band gets there they start setting up speakers there keyboard and doing a sound check.  People start flowing in but I notice it is all men.  Then comes these cars all decorated which were all girls dressed up and they pull into the drive way of the house which is gated from the street.  Then I see his brother and wife car pull up they to pull into the gate.  Shortly later they pull out a big comfy chair into the street his brother sits down and the music starts blasting.. Now anyone that knows me knows I love loud ass music but loud music with good speakers is different then loud music that is not exactly the best and or set up correctly sound wise. The vocals were all treble there was no other adjustment it seem on the speakers.  Now mind you when I say on the streets these houses are like city houses there right next to the neighbor and people right across the street.  So this music is screaming and not one person came out and said shit.  The people all got out of the chairs and started partying but still notice no females.  About 3 hours of people having an absolute blast with no alcohol what so ever.  The music started to come to and end and cleaning up the street happen again not one person came out and seem to be upset it just seem like it was jut a three hour ordeal that’s all.  Now being it was his brothers wedding night the house was crazy so my friend Ali who offered me to stay at his house told me it is probably better to stay at his friends house who is actually also named Ali.  I do not know this guy and he does not speak English but had no issues with that I am easy going.  He drove me over to his place we hung out talked and laughed for a bit all through google translate.  It was about midnight he set up a mattress pad on the floor gave me a pillow and blanket and called it a night.

9th of Nov –  When I woke up I noticed he never went to sleep in his bed he slept on the couch with no pillow and or blanket.   Felt bad that he felt like he needed to sleep there for my comfort.  I had plans to get my ass moving south today but wanted to go to that Iraqi museum.  So now I have to be the bad guy and try to wake him up in hopes I don’t get hit lol..   Finally got him up which was not necessarily easy to say the least.  He offered to take me for

Morning Breakfast with way to much food

breakfast but i wanted to get on the road and I never really like to eat breakfast but I could not say no.  Grabbed some grub he then took me back to where my motorcycle was got dress and started to make my way back into the city to check out this museum.  I arrived at 9 but it looked closed so spoke with the security and they said it was closed.  I try to ask if it was closed all day not sure if he understood but kept doing the no no close close. Online it said it open at 8 I was there at 11 and I had another stop I wanted to make today.  Next was Babylon about a hour an half south so I said fuck it going to keep moving and make my way down there.  Pulled up this massive entrance in the middle of nowhere something I definitely did no expect but instantly had me excited.  I paid the cover and cruised back this road to the main gate.  As I walked in of course instantly got the I will be your guide.  I just wanted to see the place I never really care about history shit cause I feel like its just all bullshit stories.  He tells me its free and would be a honor for him to show me a place where he and father his father father and his father farther father was born.   Guy was super friendly and of course he joined me to show me around.  Most of Babylon was destroyed from wars but Sadam Hussein love the history of the

Sadly no photo will show the beauty of Babylon

place and insisting on building it back to what it once was.  The guide would point out what is originally and what was rebuilt and the only thing I really knew about Babylon was that it was known for the start of civilization.  So he told me how old the bricks and what not were.  He came across some guys working excavating the place.  They spoke to me and said they work for United States but are Iraqi.  The guide informed me that usa military destroyed this place when they invaded iraq and this was part of making right on the damage they created..  My guy was obviously older so I asked if he was here when the military came in.  A question I dont know if I should of asked

The main gate to Babylon

cause then he informed me yes.  That they came into his family home through a bag over his head broke bike of his arms and put him in a cell with no light for 30 days.  He showed me the scars on his arms from some torturing they did to him and where his bone poke through his skin.  Also mentioned the polish military stabbed him the chest with the knife of there gun and he was hospitalized for 3 months and how he can’t breath correctly to this day.  With all this said the guy was still amazing had not one bit of hate in his heart.  He actually went on to say how you can not hate a whole country for some bad doings of just a few people.  Of course I agree but also with such traumatic events it sure could leave a really bad taste in your mouth for a long time.  Again was a great human he showed me around some more and afterwards told me that the house there on the hill is one os Sadam palace that I have to go visit.  I try to offer him a tip for walking around with me sharing his stories and the stories of the place you can truly tell he loves.  Of course he refused to take it over and over again.  We sat our goodbyes and I grab my bike and make the short drive to another one of sadams palace.  This place was fully accessible and what a view it had.  One way it viewed the tigres river the other way over

Entrance to another one of Sadams Palaces

looked Babylon a city he loved and wanted to rebuild.  The ground floors were accessible but when you try to go up the steps they were marked off with razor wire.  Graffiti littered the walls of what was in English and I guess polish from what I understood.  Spent about a hour at this remarkable place before deciding it was time to continue further south.  It was an additional 2hr drive to the next city of Nasiriyah and just outside the city I again stopped at a military check point.  It was the typical annoying question where I am going  what am I doing and why.  It was getting close to dark at this point and since I did not have a hotel to stay at they said its not safe to drive at night.  I only had 15 more mins into town but of course got escorted which to be honest kinda glad I did.  First hotel they took me to was sold out. They did all the talking so that was nice second hotel same thing.  Which was understandable cause two buses of nothing but pale ass skin white people rolled off these buses.  This time I guess the hotel suggested right next door they should have availability and in fact it did.  When I pulled the bike over to the front there was a 2 couples of these white people walking buy and asked where I was from.  I told them California and asked where all of you guys from.  He said mostly europeans there is some “Americans” ( which is not a country but I figured he meant USA) and he said he is from Russia.  All the white folks I saw were easily  getting close to there death bed so I say around the 60-70yr old mark.  Anyways I check into my hotel and call it a night

The only thing that was not vandalized in sadams palace the ceiling

10 of Nov – today I am going to try and cross into kuwait but first a stop at one of the famous ziggurat called UR.  I got out of the hotel early around 8am and made my way in that direction.  Again got stopped at a military checkpoint about 30 mins from the ziggurat.  I waited there for 2hrs before a police car came and said I was getting escorted.  This road is a one way road in and a one way road out so no idea why the fuck I needed to be escorted.  Anyways

Ziggurat “UR”

the guys were cool and think were to happy to be there cause they all took photos and videos with me.  When we left I told them I needed gas they showed me a gas station about a half an hour away and afterwards sent me on my way to the border of iraq and kuwait.  Now I read online this border was closed but it was only 2hrs away from where I was the next border was 6 hrs and the other one was 13hrs so I be an idiot not to try.  Get to the border of kuwait everything seemed to be fine on the Iraqi said they call ahead to kuwait and say im a usa citizen looking to cross and said nope.  Sorry borders are closed to any foreign nations till dec.  So of course im like fucking hell but can’t be to

bummed knowing I tried.  The Iraqi military tell me to get a hotel in the closest city of Basra.  Basra is also the city where ISIS was supposedly started from what my military friend told me when I even entered iraq.  When I got near the city about a hour from the border the place was lit up.  This was by far the nicest looking big city I came across yet.  Streets lights with decorations hanging from them traffic was a bit more controlled and my hotel I picked was right on the river with dinner boats lining the shoreline.  The hotel was way over priced for my liking but the Iraqi border people suggested it and I did not feel like driving around to find another one.

11 of Nov – so now I need to make the drive back the same damn direction I came from yesterday.  Which was a boring straight desert road but obviously had to be done.  Passed two military check points fine no stopping the third one got my ass.  Again another damn escort which really started to get annoying cause I got this far int he damn country and haven’t had to do this bullshit.  First one drove me for about half an hour pulled off and the next pulled out so I did not have to stop.  Well since I did not stop I was not going to slow down either so I sped off away from the person.  I dont want to follow these fukers its a nightmare.   I passed another one which I was already going to fast for as well so passed him to.  Now the next one must of been warned that I was not slowing down for them to pull out.  So this truck was already moving and cruised in front me of but

in the middle of the sand storm my escorts

hand signaled on speed.  We cruised around 70mph for awhile until a sand storm hit us.  Now I road in a really bad sand storm in Peru but I could at least see but this was a whole different weapon cause could not see shit.  This went on for at least an hour cleared up got hit with it again for just a short period and then finally cleared again and the escort and I were back cruising around 80mph now.  He pulls off eventually and I continue on to the city of Karbala before yet again another check point stop.  Now I am 22km which is about 15miles from the hotel I picked yet I sat this fucking checkpoint for 3 god damn hours.  I was so annoyed but I could not even leave cause they had my passport.  Everyone is cool and takes photos with me trys to talk to me they fed me and gave me there tea but there is always one boss man who looks like a fucking cunt.  He ends up leaving a escort shows up and off to my hotel I go.  Get to my hotel front desk guy is super nice and speaks good English.  He asked about my trip and where I am going.   I tell him Saudi he said you know that road is really dangerous and I said nope I heard that about all of iraq and I have had a blast in fact the military check points lately dont seem allow me to do shit anyways.  He laughs and high fives me he said if I would like to use the whirlpool and sauna he could reopen it for me since its pass hours.  Also told me if I had any laundry he do that for free as well.  Def take him up on both offers but I

beautiful city of Kabrala

mentioned I want to eat before all that.  He said they have a roof top restaurant.  When I get into my room I get a phone call it is the general manage and he welcomed me to his hotel.  He said my laundry and dinner is on the house and asked if later after the spa if I would like to meet back at the restaurant.  I said yeah I told the front desk I be in the spa around 9 maybe around 10-1030.   I get upstairs order dinner while I wait for my meal I go outside not he rooftop to take some photos and videos.   I get dinner grub it down and head back to my room to drop off laundry change to get ready to go to the spa.  I spend about an hour in the dry wet sauna and wanted to get into the whirlpool but that shit was cold.  I didn’t want to bug the front since my food and laundry was free.  So get back to my room call to reach the general manager.  I go back upstairs to meet him he orders shisha aka hookah which I def dont do but give me some crazy drink (no alcohol).. He mentions the hotel open 2 weeks ago and how he owns 50 percent of the hotel and actually lives in one of the suites while he runs it.  We talked for a few hours before calling it a night around midnight since I had plans to wake up super early.

12 of Nov – Next border attempt was going to be made today.  It looked like again a long boring ass road to the Saudi border and I wanted to be out the door early cause again didn’t know about these damn check points.  Was out the door by 7am and on my way moving south.  Two check point fine then I get out the what looks like the long boring road straight to the Saudi border and maybe the last check point and im stopped.  They dont understand why I am going this direction at all and seem completely confused.  Of course the phone calls start before I get the

The soldier who gave me his flag patch off his uniform

okay to go.  Before i leave one soldier took off his patch and gave it to me as a gift and for good luck. I get close to the border from what appears from my maps grab but i need fuel.  The gas station lets me go for free says I do not need to pay and enjoy my trip.  First time ever in my life that has happen I mean gas is literally fucking gold.  Shortly after a military tent must of been given the word I was coming cause they were on the street waving an giving me a peace sign.  I slow down cause I thought I was to stop and they wave me to the side.   Right away its photo time but then ask If I would like there infamous tea well I was only 30 mins from the border so im like fuck it I got plenty of time I will have tea with them plus I had to piss really bad.  These guys were characters all of them were so happy.  I had to get going eventually at at this point these guys would of kept me all night.  Moved on and got stopped again this time a grip of people were in the road.  I stop a guy walks up to me he is the captain and name is Mustafa welcomes me.  Said we have been waiting for your arrival my soldiers want to take photos with you if thats okay.   He spoke perfect English and I said of course I dont mind and said you speak such good English.  He said he worked with the us military as a translator..   He apologized for all the photos from the soldiers but he said they probably never met a person form the states let alone a person covered in tattoos.  He offered that he would like to invite me for dinner if that is okay.  He calls ahead to the border who was expecting my arrival but they already beat him to it and had lunch prepared for me already.  He said its only ten more mins and he would drive me to help translate.  We get into the office of the chief of the border he takes my passport and all the documents and said he will process me leaving iraq and contact Saudi to make sure can cross.  In the meantime Mustafa suggested lets go over the customs office where dinner is prepared.  Have meal with them and then back to the chiefs office.  I then am informed I am the first person to ever

Dinner time

cross their border so it seems Saudi does not know what to do.  On Saudi website it says its for pedestrian coursing but they were told that I can not cross here that this border crossing is only for trade.  The Saudi commander said he would have no problem let me cross but he just can not allow it without any sort of exemption.  Mustafa then suggest I call the usa embassy in Saudi to see if they can do anything for me.  I tell him over and over again on how worthless those people are but he suggests over and over again and he can explain to them how dangerous it is for me to go to the Jordanian border.  I call the guy is actually super rad he is from Northern California and has lived over here for 20yrs.  He said it is Friday so ts there weekend in Saudi so having them do anything is going to be tough but I want to help you.  He said if I dont hear anything call back in 30.  Of course I hear nothing I call back he was completely confused how I heard nothing and said thats bullshit let me try again and again call back if I dont hear anything.  This time I do get a call about a hour later this guy takes down all my info and is completely confused why I am in iraq and how I even got there.  He keeps repeating there is nothing he can do over an over again and is confused what I expect.  I tell him listen your the last person I would like to talk to I know from my past experience you guys never seem to do anything for any usa citizen.  He asks is that all I need I said yeah you made it clear  I heard everything.   Mustafa said its already dark here your going to stay the night and hopefully tomorrow we can figure something else out.  They give me a room to crash in for the night and feed me one more time.

13 of Nov – SEEM LIKE THE LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE – wake up at 730 around 830 they were serving me breakfast and said they were getting the approval to let me leave.  Mustafa ask if I ever heard anything back form the usa embassy I said no it did not sound like they were going to a damn thing.  He suggest I call back yet again.  I get the same guy I talk with yesterday and again the dude is super rad.  He apologies right away says how worthless these people are.  That they only seem to help anyone if there dying and even then your lucky..  Explain how he believes no one should be left like this especially if we have the power to let you cross since you do have all the correct paper work and not asking for a an actual favor.  He says let me see what he can do personally calls me back says how he wanted to punch the guy in the face.  He said I know it will do know good and apologized over an over again he can not help.  I tell Mustafa the issue and he said okay we will get you out of here and back to Karbala. 

I can truly never explain the hospitality of the middle east not the same skin color not the same religion in fact everything about me is against there religion but not on judgement welcomed with open arms

Around 330 they get the approval I can go which is not going to be fucking dark in less then 2hrs and its a 4hr drive.  I dont care I am just ready to get back and try again so I say good bye to everyone there.  They all truly treated me like family and started my journey back north.  Sure enough it got dark and although they say it is dangerous road I dont feel danger at all .  I was so confused cause for one on the drive down there is always a Iraqi military camp within site at all times.  Literally some are only half a mile from one another but always one in site.  On top of it I am like the only person on this road and now I am told pedestrians are not even allow to cross this border who the fuck are these “bad guys” even going after.  Anyways I start seeing light int he distance before I get stopped.  Now its the desert so light in the distance can mean forever away but there is a escort waiting for me

cant be mad at them they are just doing there jobs so i still take photos with a smile

AGAIN.  They drive to the city of Karbala but pass the hotel I stayed at before.  I get pissed and pull over side of the road and explain I want to go to this hotel.  It is 9pm at this time they say Baghdad which makes me even more piss I say no I am not going to Baghdad.  I call Mustafa and explain the situation to him he talks with them and he gives me phone back.  He says there taking to another city that road is closed I can’t even access that road tomorrow to Jordan.  We drive again next check point this was the border I was stuck at for 2hrs the night before so all the solideris knew me smile and said Daniel California.  They switch escorts  but I say I am hungry so they said okay they will take me to get food.  Stop I eat food and the soldiers pay for my meal and will not take any money from me.  We get gas again free gas so now im in a better mood but still bothered I am going the wrong direction.  We passed the city of Hillah which Mustafa said I was going to stop at and I see fucking signs for Baghdad.  Going to cut this part short I will say I exchange escorts which seem like every half mile and it took me 6hrs to go 6 miles.  Literally I arrived at 630am in my hotel in Baghdad so I was up for 23hrs and rode majority of that time.

14 of Nov – Since I did not get in till 630am this morning I tried to sleep in as long as possible but one pm I  was

Yusef and his crazy Shisha lol

awake and could not fall back asleep.  Yusef a new friend I met a few days ago here in Baghdad offered to take me out for food and try to help me on confirming I can in fact cross the Jordanian border.  He grabbed me around 3 and told me since I could not make it to Syria this year that he will bring Syria to me by taking me to a Syrian restaurant.  His wife and him picked me at my hotel and took me over to the restaurant.  I told them I am not a picky eater that I would eat anything they suggest.  Shortly later out came a shit ton of food.  Everything I had was just absolutely incredible but they said that was just the appetizers.  Well anyone that knows me knows I dont eat much and felt like I did one hell

Just a start to the appetizers

of a good job damaging the food they already got.  I told them I am full I really do not need anymore food.  He ask am I sure I tell him over and over again I really appreciate but yes im completely sure.  He said well we at least have to get desert and I could not say no that.  They order these ice cream balls that kinda reminded me of deep fried ice cream which that to was amazing.   On my way back to the hotel Yusef did get a hold of one of the superiors for Jordan and he gave me the green light that the border is open and I can do all the paper work at the border which included my visa.  We spend a good 5hrs at that restaurant so when I got back to my hotel I was ready to crash because I was planning on being out that door at 6am tomorrow.

15th of Nov – My third attempt and sadly I originally was planning on going through Jordan because I did not know there were any other borders that I could of even tried.  Of course my ass started digging deeper in google and finding out the kuwait and Saudi situation which does exist just unfortunately not at this time for pedestrians.  I was out the door at 6am like planned and on the road.  There was no traffic and not one military person stopped me exiting the city.  I was on my the road to Fallujah cruised through there still no stop.  Next city Ramadi boom had to stop.  Again the soldiers did there scare tactic and suggested fire dont go.  I of course was not taking I am not going as a option today and about a hour went by and I was released to continue.  I cruised for about another hour and another damn check point.   Again nothing was really communicated with me but after 3hrs of sitting there I started

Finally get the GREEN LIGHT TO GO

to get super annoyed.  I contacted Mustafa and Yusef and explained the situation I been sitting here for 3hrs and nothing.  They called an talked with the Lieutenant there who was super nice to me and spoke a little English but not good enough to understand why the hell im still sitting here.  They feed me and kept giving  me juices and waters but I was ready to go.  5hrs came upon me and again these fuckers keep saying dont ride at night but hold me the fuck up.  I finally get the okay to leave and was told by Mustafa there should be no more check points I should be good to go.  I grabbed gas and was on my way to Jordan finally.  There was military along the road the whole time so again I did not even slightly feel unsafe and again no one else was on this damn road so what in the hell do these so called dangerous people even accomplish in a months time.  It was actually a really odd but amazing feeling like I was running for a touchdown or something cause every military point I passed people were outside waving to me thumb and peace signs up.   Which even confirmed more what the hell do I have to worry about.  I get about a hour from the border and another check point is upon me but I know im fine at this point but it was getting dark now and of course it had to fucking rain.  The guys asked if I was Daniel from California I said yes and again everyone wanted to take photos.  After the photo session they said okay get going nice to meet you.   I can not literally see the border but again I am stopped at another check point which was probably more like a security thing but they had food water and juice for me when I arrived.  Again some photos and I was on my way to the actual border.  Ok so I arrived at 6 the place looked closed  but I went around the barriers and they helped me.  The guy who spoke English the best was a bigger guy and happy and funny as hell.  He called ahead to the superior and said they are going to let me go to customs and immigration.  It was raining a bit harder now but they wanted me to come inside while they call ahead to Jordan to make sure I can cross tonight cause they are closed but they said no issues you will be able to cross tomorrow no matter what first thing.  They give me tea an the superior guy spoke great English so chatted with me

Saying Good Bye to Iraq last few days were long but happy it was a great experience when i look back on it and only made me that more knowledgeable. Happy to be the first person in 30yrs to cross this border solo it.

and why I choose to come to iraq and truly loved my response you could see his eyes just light up and kept saying your my bother everyone here is your brother were family and you will forever welcome here in iraq.  Jordan decided to reopen so I could cross tonight so the the superior said he would like to talk more with me but I understand you have a place you like to go to tonight.  He wished me a safe ride tonight.  Thankfully when I left his office the rain stopped I moved to Jordan side the first guy was a huge metal head.  While he checked my paper work he was talking about slayer Megadeth system of a down all these bands.  A dog sniffed out my bike and I moved on to the next stop.  This was customs and they made me take all my bags off the bike and put them through a metal detector and then opened all of it up and searched through it all.  NOW THIS NEVER EVER EVER happened to me before and being it was late you think he would of cared less but that fucker was trying to find something.  After approval from customs they said I need to get a pcr test which was a funny this fucker was decked head to toe in hazmat shit yet not one other person had anything on and the same fucking gloves he tested me with he never took off and then used his phone to get my number so he can text me the results.   FUCKIN IDIOTS I swear with this stupid pussy covid shit.  Next get my visa get insurance on the bike and im clear to leave.  Now I still have a 4hr drive yet to

Got in trouble for taking a photo at the Jordanian border ha

Amman city and debated if I was going to drive it or not since it was almost 9 at this point.  My gps said 320km I thought fuck that I can make it there by midnight and off the races I went and I shit you not I arrived right at 12:04.  It was almost a 18hr day but only included me riding actually 8hrs.   The rest of the time was military stops fueling up and of course border patrol.  But I have two day to relax in the city of Amman Jordan   Also be proud since the Iraqi superior said I was the first foreign solo person to cross that border in probably 30years.  Which now in Amman I can truly look back on what an amazing day it really was when it was all said and done.

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