The Iraqi Book Market

This will be a shorter post, but the topic interests me. I was reading random articles late last night and came across a story about a street in Baghdad lined with books, day and night. The street has been subject to bombings and war and has come back from the dead every time.

The hunger for literature in Iraq has always been strong whether the literature was influenced by political readers or not. Thousands of books line Mutanabbi Street in the old quarter of Baghdad. These books remain stacked in the streets all hours of the day and night.

People visit the site daily and sort through the piles to find their next adventure. The best part of this that no one ever takes a book without paying. Say or believe what you will about that part of the world. There is a philosophy that “the reader does not steal and the thief does not read.”

I’m impressed by this book market and have every intention of visiting it as soon as I can. Please read up on the Iraqi book market. There are a ton of articles about it and they make for a good read.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Tourists

Traveling for work means dealing with tourists on the road. Sooooo many tourists. Young and old, every time of day or night, every day of the week. It’s as if no one goes to school, has a job, a life. Or everyone I come across is super rich and has no need for any of that.

I end up traveling down a lot of 2-lane roads when I drive. Lots of curves, no room to pass, low speed limits, and tourists. There is no frustration greater than being stuck behind a tourist going 5 or 10 miles under the speed limit when you can’t pass them. The reason they drive so slow seems to be so they can look out every window except the windshield to take in the scenery, completely unaware of anyone around them. Or they don’t care.

This is something that happens several times a day. This is something that happens regardless of location. This is something that happens no matter what time it is. This is something that happens even if I beg God to run either me or the tourists off the road.

These same tourists don’t appear to have ever eaten in any restaurant anywhere, ever. They don’t understand pictures, lines, how to order food, how to be polite to those in front of or behind them, or that they are the only ones who are not under a time-constraint.

My favorite tourists are the ones who stop in doorways to chat to the other tourists whether they know them or not. These same tourists also don’t know how to park, but I don’t have to patience to get into that right this second.

I love traveling and looking at the scenery of new places I’ve never explored. I do the speed limit, or more, I use the mirrors in the vehicle, I pull over safely to allow others to pass me so I can stop and look around. I order quickly when in a line and I don’t stand in doorways to talk about the fucking roadrunner I saw run across the road last week. We get it. It was a roadrunner. It ran. It ran across the road. Get out of my way, Dr. Seuss, I have things to do.

If you’re reading this and you are not a tourist, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re reading this and you ARE a tourist, I absolutely mean no disrespect. But that means you should be respectful as well. Be mindful of those around you on the road, in restaurants, in doorways, and in parking lots instead of parking so close to my vehicle that you don’t know how to get out of your car so you stare at me until I move because you screwed up and don’t understand how to back up and park again without taking 20 minutes to get the car in gear.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.