October 28, 2003

Let's (Not) Go

The first British tourists to visit Iraq since the war returned home this week and admitted they were lucky to have escaped with their lives.

Christine Bailey, a member of the tour group and a keen archaeologist, said the two-week trip had taken them to Baghdad, Babylon and a host of historic sites, but there had been anxious moments.

"I felt very uneasy when we drove through bandit country on the road from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad," she said, "and later in the northern city of Mosul when we passed a man being beaten to death with iron bars."

Not exactly Club Med, to be sure.
The tour was organised by Hinterland Travel and led by Geoff Hahn, an Iraq specialist who has been taking groups to the country for 30 years.

With the Foreign Office advising against all but the most essential travel to Iraq, the tourists - three Britons, an American, a Canadian and an Irish student, aged between 25 and 75 - knew the risks were high. . .

Mr Hahn said that, despite the tension, the group had been met with extraordinary friendliness by local people and that by and large they had not detected anti-Western or anti-British sentiment.

"People were very nice to us - and outside the hotspots, it was great to see them getting on with their lives," he said. "Although there were difficulties, the situation was not nearly as bad as some imagine."

From the Telegraph.

Posted by David on October 28, 2003 1:27 PM

Comments

"lucky to have escaped with their lives"

A bit of hyperbole, given other quores, such as "We didn't get bombed, blown up or shot at. Nor did we run out of petrol," and "the group had been met with extraordinary friendliness by local people and that by and large they had not detected anti-Western or anti-British sentiment."

Fair and balanced reporting, eh? More than likely, these folks would have been disappointed, given the circumstances and timing, if they hadn't felt like they were in danger. That's the same reason folks go on holliday and cliff dive, bungee jump, white water raft, swim with sharks, etc.

Posted by: submandave on October 28, 2003 2:37 PM

My son recently took a tour of Iraq too. He did run out of gas and he got shot at but, towards the end of his tour, he saw lots of the folks standing on the side of the road smiling and waving at him. What a coincedence. Oh, then again, maybe not. My son's tour bus left from Ft Stewart Ga. hmmmmm....

Posted by: daveswife on October 28, 2003 4:20 PM

Hey, it's self-promotion, but I visited Iraq, including Baghdad, in August as a tourist/backpacker. Didn't seem all that bad to me...

Posted by: leonsparx on October 28, 2003 11:10 PM
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