Let’s Go! Iraq

I am a tourist,” were his first words. The telephone line from Falluja was bad, but there could be no mistake. Falluja’s first Western leisure visitor was in town.

…After being made aware of Mr. Marchio’s presence in the country by The New York Times, the Italian Embassy in Baghdad established that Mr. Marchio had traveled from Italy to Egypt, then to Turkey, and from there to northern Iraq over land…

Then came a 200-mile journey by taxi from Erbil, the Kurdistan regional capital, to Baghdad, where a startled Bashar Yacoub, 31, reception manager at the Coral Palace — a hotel that had not had a casual Western visitor since American invasion in 2003 — took his details…

Asked if he thought Iraq was ready for tourists, Mr. Yacoub said, “No.” When he was asked if he believed Falluja was safe for tourists, his emphatic “no” was echoed by staff members and guests standing within earshot.

From the New York Times

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