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Sunday, May 19, 2024
HomeIraqBaghdadBaghdad, Iraq Day 3: Calm and Culture

Baghdad, Iraq Day 3: Calm and Culture

Baghdad Day 3 is part of the Iraq Homecoming Trip Report. Read Day 1 and read Day 2.


If it’s any time in Iraq, it’s chai time. Spent, I needed more caffeine. I went to the espresso place next to my hotel.

a cup of coffee on a table

TPOL’s Tip: The location is Al Arasat St. No. 23 Al Risafa, Baghdad. Be sure to allow extra time to get through the metal detectors and wand pat down.

The Iraq Museum

Like all Guns & Butter Trip Reports, there is always something I cannot do. In Baghdad, it was visiting the Iraqi National Museum. I overslept the first day when I was supposed to go and it was closed on Saturday which is atypical. While this was not as bad as not seeing King Tut in Cairo (see Guns & Butter: Cairo Travel Guide), it was irritating. My guide was more upset than I was.

a gate with a building behind it
Closed for business.

Karrada

From there, we went to Karrada, a district where many Christians live(d). It was unique to see a church and St. Raphael hospital in the heart of Baghdad. Was my sister born there I wondered?

a gate with a building in the backgrounda building with a door and windows

cars parked cars in front of a building
St. Raphael

In deep thought, I went to Bin Reda Alwan Company Coffee Roaster, a cafe for scholars. Over ice cream and OJ, I studied Soil Mechanics.

a cup of ice cream
Gelato and cigarettes, what a combo.

a glass of orange juice with ice and a slice of orange a man reading a book

a man and woman sitting at a table reading a book
Women did soil mechanics.

TPOL’s Tip: The location is Karada Dakhl – near Abu Aklam gas station.

Bargaining

Visiting museums is my least favorite activity while traveling. As TPOL readers know, bargaining is the exact opposite (see Bargaining Price Guide: Bookmark It!). This time I was in search of an Iraqi soccer jersey. Because the team has not been good in a long time, finding one anywhere in the city proved challenging. I finally located one and purchased it for 9000 dinar ($6.83). It was XXlL and fit me perfectly, leaving me to wonder what might have been.

a man standing in front of a shelf of clothing
#23 Alexander ‘the assassin’ Bachuwa

TPOL’s Trivia: Saddam’s son Udai used to torture players who did not perform well on the pitch. To counteract this barbaric practice, he would purchase Ferraris for those who did well.

a street with cars and buildings
The streets of Baghdad

Masgouf

A traditional Arabic dish is masgouf. It is made from river carp caught in the Tigris. The fish is a bottom feeder consuming anything it can to survive.

a table and chairs on a green surface
I do not advise sitting outside in the death heat.
a body of water with a stone path and grass
Would you eat a carp swimming around in here?

a river next to a sandy beach

two fish on a metal surface

a fire pit with a round table
The preparation of the fish is something to behold.

a fire pit with wood burning

a fish on a fire a fish on a log a fish on a fire pit a fish on a stick over a fire

I tried to eat the masgouf but psychologically I could not do it. I felt like I was on Fear Factor. a plate of food and a bowl of soup

a plate of food with a lemon and vegetables
I ate the onions and pickles.
a plate of food on a table
Ms. TPOL ate the rest.

The chef came by and asked if we would like to see how the bread was made. I was the first to jump away from the table and the nasty masgouf.

a stone oven with a lid and a round objecta circular stone container with a hole in it

a stone oven with a round oven and round pans
Just bread for me, thank you.

I did find something delicious at the restaurant. This was the best tubbalah I had in Iraq and most like grandma used to make.

a salad with tomatoes and lemon slices

a cooking eggplant on a stove
I would have loved to try the eggplant.
a can of soda on a table
As an aside, I finally found Diet Pepsi, a rarity in Coke dominated Iraq.

TPOL’s Tip: Sinnara restaurant is located at 79VV+9WM, Baghdad, Baghdad Governorate, Iraq.

Overall

Day 3 was much more calm than the first two days.

Bonus Coverage

Day 3 was not over. I had one more encounter which made this day one I will never forget (see Baghdad, Iraq: Family Reunion).

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4 COMMENTS

  1. We do have a local restaurant here in the OC serving Masgouf, but not using a “bottom feeder” specimen! Al Tannour in Anaheim (not a plug) usually grills Pompano in his pizza oven or Tilapia when the Pompano is not available. When in town, let me know and I will take you for a good meal, my treat. When fresh out the water and prepared properly, Carp is a delicious and the authentic fish for masgouf.
    https://flic.kr/s/aHskyihfri

    As for Christianity in Iraq, it is considered to be one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. A US marine who served in Iraq, once told me that he was shocked to discover that the largest structure there is a church (St Gregory The Illuminator Armenian Orthodox Church) when US troops first rolled into downtown Baghdad! There are Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriac, Jacobites, Melkites, Nestorians (Church of the East which was bigger than the Catholic Church at a certain point in history) and others belonging to many denominations, such as catholic, protestants, orthodox, etc. In fact in the 1970s, the Christian population surpased one million people or 5% of the population at that time and reaching 1.5 million prior to the 2003 US invasion and occupation.

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