Steve's 12 month IA to Iraq travel blog

Ziggurat from about a mile away at the Aussie's Camp

The Australian 'BushMaster'!

Quick shot in Camp ... with me looking straight into the sun!...

Interesting painting of the 'The Last Supper' from a different perspective! (grin!)

Me!! ... Oh yeah ... and the oldest . above ground structure...

The oldest arch in the world ... it collapsed JUST after I...

The vase in my hand is soon to be heading to a...

Abram's house (pic 1) growing up (a little bit reconstructed)

Abram's house (pic 2) ... we got to walk on TOP of...

Top of the Zigguart with our tour guide ... Australian Capt. Batt...


My trip down to Tallil was one of the most memorable so far. Although we did have some 'interesting' changes in the flight times getting down (becoming to realize that these travel woes are normal here, and not just my normal "traveler's luck!") we were able to get down safely in an Australian C-130, and find our POC on the ground fairly quickly.

We were able to get right to work looking at the Iraqi Army bases and getting to know the Australian ground forces overseeing the areas. Got a chance to eat with the Iraqis (THAT was intersting!), walk through their camps and see first-hand many of the living conditions and problems that they face. It's hard to imagine, but many of the areas would be considered sub-standard by any professional military organization in the world, but for many of the soldiers, this was a huge improvement over what they had been used to ...

This was also my first visit to an IA (Iraqi Army) base, and there was certainly a rather noticeably difference between the IA compounds and those of the ISOF. The ISOF guys take a bit better care of their accommodations, are a bit more professional, and are certainly doing more of the 'front-line' work. The IA guys are the next level down, and most of them are joining to just be able to get work / food and shelter.

The amazing part of the journey came at the tail end of our trip, RIGHT before we were supposed to board our plane to head back to Baghdad. We were able to setup a quick tour of the Ziggurat area with the local Australian Chaplain, who just happens to also be one of a handful certified archaeologists to be able to work on the site! Most of the pictures on this entry were from that quick tour ... some of the highlights obviously being able to walk up the Ziggurat (supposedly the oldest above-ground structure in the world), seeing ancient tombs, hieroglyphics that had been stamped into EACH brick of the still-standing structures, the "oldest archway in the world", the birthplace of Abraham, and an active dig site ... all amazing. I kept having this eerie feeling while walking around the area, imagining all the history that the place had gone through ... and all the people that walked those same areas ... it certainly had a way of making you seem small and insignificant in one sense, and then tied and connected to something much bigger in another.

Unfortunately, the Tower of Babel was VERY close to where we were, but was "outside the wire" and we were unable to go visit. Hopefully one of these days, when the country calms down a few notches, folks can come back here and see all this amazing history ...



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