Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The picnic

The last few days have been a blur, but tacking backwards, we had a wonderful day off (half) on friday, and the YES Academy faculty and staff had an evening picnic.  We climbed into a shag-carpeted bus and drove past a checkpoint outside town.  Just past the checkpoint, we took a windy dusty road up the mountain.  I snapped pictures of the placid lake in the distance that reminded me of a bus route between San Fran and LA.  We took the dusty curves and turns up the pass until we arrived to the top of the mountain to find the most stunning vista overlooking the city of Duhok.

We sat on the mountaintop, eating salty pistachios and almonds and drinking cold Tuborg beer (K-stan is very tolerant of such things, and there were ample cans and bottles to indicate we weren't the first to make use of this spot for such picnic fare).

The sun burned out Texan across the expansive vista.  The wide rocky expanse made for the perfect southwestern-turned-middleeastern backdrop.  We heard the muezzin's call to prayer echo through the valley, and evening was heralded in.  Slowly the night lights of the city flickered on, and a ferris wheel's neon smiled up at us.  I sat in silence, listening to the wind.

Below, the city lights twinkled in a way that reminded me of Amarillo.  As it got dark, we opened up a jeep to blast Kurdish folk music, and did traditional Kurdish two-steps.   It was a need respite from the bustle of the YES Academy, and a sunset I will not soon forget.

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