Visit to Amedi (Amadiya)
by Jeremy Star
I decided to try to visit Amedi again so I packed my bags and checked out. On my way down the stairs I passed someone who didn’t look local, and wasn’t. I had finally found another traveller - Mireck from Poland - and he was also on his way to Amedi.
Out on the street we flagged down a taxi and I asked for Amedi garaj. We agreed on a price of 3000 dinar and got in. The driver drove around town and dropped us about 50 meters from where we had started. This was the garaj he said, and crossed the road to talk to a group of waiting drivers. He brought one back and assured us it was the correct place. It would have been faster to walk, but all we could do was shake our heads and pay. We stood and waited with our new driver until another passenger arrived and we were led along a side street to a parked car. The ride would cost 7500 dinar each which was fair.
I sat in the back with the other passenger. We had no shared language but he was a communicator so communication ensued. Suddenly he had a revelation and made a phone call. I was passed his cell phone and found his brother, with an English accent, on the other end. Meanwhile the taxi hurtled on through the countryside, past the ruins of Saddam Hussein’s house from the day before, and into new territory.
The road passed through a wide valley to Amedi, perched on top of a mountain. The buildings extended right to the edge of the cliff and the views were breathtaking. We walked the streets and stopped at a tea house. Across from us a row of men in traditional dress sat in front of a poster of the Eiffel tower. I took their photo and we drank cay. As they left, one of them approached us, signalled food and beckoned for us to follow. Our money for the cay was waved away as we left.
We followed the old man to his house, where we were welcomed by his wife, children, grandchildren and 10 month old great-grand daughter. He directed me to the bathroom where he indicated I should refresh my face and hair with water. One of his granddaughters spoke a little English so we talked and admired the baby. A side table was cleared and brought over to us, and we were given bottles of water and then Coca-Cola.
Mats were placed on the ground and a spread of rice, bread, bean and meat stew, tomatoes, lemons, onions and zucchinis was laid out. We sat and ate with the extended family, who insisted we eat more and more until we were well beyond satisfied. Lunch was followed by cay and coffee and one of the girls went out into the garden and returned with pomegranates and grapes. My backpack was torn and I had been on the look out for a needle and thread. I communicated this and a sewing kit was produced. I threaded a needle, and under the scrutiny of five women, slowly began sewing. It didn’t last long, give me, one of them said and my bag was snatched away with a laugh and quickly mended.
We were invited to stay the night but we were travelling to Turkey the next day and there was Amedi to explore. We talked more and then said many thanks and headed out. The old man showed us around before we said goodbye to him too. We asked someone how to get to the Eastern Gate, all that remains of the old citadel wall, and he sent his son to show us the way. We admired the marble gate and views until the light began to fade. At the entrance to the village we found a share taxi, and after a short wait began the journey back to Dohuk.
More by Jeremy StarInto Iraq
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More of Dohuk
Back Across the Border
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