Friday, December 02, 2005

Lunch, with pix

I wrote a while back about a trip I took into the hinterlands south of Kirkuk to meet with a sheik to tell him about election preparations. The sheik was in town, and while we stood around debating what to do, his sons and nephews killed a sheep and the sheik’s wife and daughter (I think)cooked it up for lunch. We were invited to lunch while waiting for the sheik to return.

Here are some pictures from that trip. The first shows a couple of soldiers watching the sheep being skinned. Note the horizon; nothing there. Also note the plants around the fence. Mrs. Sheik had planted some shrubs for color.

The next picture shows one of the nephews inflating the sheep. He poked a hole in its leg and blew into it, and pretty soon its belly was extended and its legs poked straight out. I guess this was an aid to skinning it.

They gave us Chai tea, and fixed a nice meal of rice, mutton, tomatoes and cucumbers, and a tomato stew. Excellent food, even if I was a bit leery of gastrointestinal side effects, which did not materialize by the way. This sheik was a Sunni, and was certainly hospitable to us. They even took Chai to the gunners who stayed on the machine guns maintaining security.

The last picture is of a beautiful young girl, a daughter of one of the nephews, I guess. I suppose the woman who helped cook lunch could be a second wife of the sheik's, and the little girl could be from that union. Second wives are common in Iraq. Our soldiers would sometimes get offers to have a marriage arranged, and when they'd protest that they are already married, the objection would be waived off as irrelevant.

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