Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Iraq Trip - Day Six
You can see the CHU in this picture. It is small but compared to some other accommodations it is very nice.
They line dozens of them up in a row... 2 people per room, four rooms per trailer.
Then, they surround them with blast walls made of concrete to protect from mortar attacks.
We got to sleep in a bit and take a short tour of the base. There are tons of these armored vehicles sitting around. Eventually we would get to ride in one of them but that's much later...
First, we have half a day to tour the Ziggurat. This is a big honor for us being that this place is 4000 + years old. It also happens to be the home of Abraham (Yep, the one from the Bible) Since the entire thing is encompassed by a fence and temporarily "owned" by the United States, we are some of the only people who get to visit this sacred place.
It is only a short drive from base (10 min) and this great arch greats you when you drive up the road.
One of our awesome army guides tells us to stay put while she talks to the man who lives on the property. He is often scared by random vans pulling up with a bunch of males getting out.
He agrees to give us a tour.
I don't remember his name but I do remember that he spoke English pretty well. Apparently he learned English from a dictionary. He also learned Japanese, French, and Spanish all from Dictionaries. He claims that someone from his family has lived on this property all the way back 4000 years to Abraham. He loves Americans and here's why...
Before the American occupation of this area, this man had no electricity, no running water, no way to make money. The USA gave him all of these things and provides him with a job giving tours to US Soldiers. Anyway, back to the Ziggurat.
Here stands one of the temples that the Mesopotamians used for worship of the moon God. It is the oldest known standing archway in the world.
Crazy thing is... if you add a little water, you can still see the original writings in cuniform, carved into the walls of the temple.
We find out that only 5% of this entire city has been excavated. That leaves 95% of it untouched.
We are led into the burial temple where the kings of the Mesopotamians were found. Our Iraqi guide never lets people into the tombs...but you would be amazed at what a twenty dollar bill will do in Iraq.
Down we go...
This leads down into a corridor that once contained the bodies of the kings and queens of this land. It is very dark and dusty down there.
Still no Camel Spiders...
We stopped for a band photo on the steps and moved to the other tomb.
This room was just like the other one.
As I was coming out I snapped this heavenly photo of Walker, standing at the entrance to the tomb.
Another band photo and we climbed out of there. Still much more to see...
And here it is... the Ziggurat. This thing is HUGE! Imagine that 4000 years ago, this was the most sacred place around.
Many steps lead to the top.
And from there you can see just how much has been dug up. Not much. Under the rest of this sand lies a vast city that was once the center of Mesopotamia.
You can see that this place is crumbling slowly. Someone should build a giant bubble around the place to protect it.
You can't help but feel awestruck at this place.
The wind was really blowing hard and Smitty climbed right up on the ledge. One wrong step and he would fall 100 feet to the ground.
(Looking down from the top of the Ziggurat)
And yet another temple that is almost destroyed.
Next we go to Abraham's house. His house is pretty big and one can only assume that his family had some money. There was once a second floor and a roof on this place but over the years the bottom floor is all that remains.
The house is like a maze with a kitchen and family rooms.
Then, we broke out in dance on top of Abraham's house. That lasted for about 10 minutes while we sang "Father Abraham had many sons..."
Here's the band plus Franky Perez and Adam Haney. It was time to go back to base and play a show.
There was scheduling problem due to the weather and our show got canceled. Very much in the tradition of Truth and Salvage, we did a show anyway.
We grabbed acoustic instruments and did an "unplugged" version of our show for a small but thankful crowd.
Then it was off to bed because we had an early flight in the morning to take us to Base Apache, a small base that hardly ever gets entertainment.