Symphony & Pizza

On Saturday I spent the day at the Al-Rasheed Hotel, which is a
14-story Hotel located in the IZ. The landscaping is lovely, it's the most green I've seen here yet! The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra put on a concert. It was an amazing afternoon. I have been spoiled with last minute tickets to the Kennedy center so often you forget that there are places where cultural events are few and far between.

This was a monumental day for Iraqis and Americans to enjoy the symphony on a Saturday afternoon. Something I have really taken for granted.

There is great shopping at the Al-Rasheed, jewelry, nick-knacks, rugs and artwork. I've set my heart on a few pieces of art that I plan on haggling for over the next 6 months so I come home with the best price!

(Love this picture of me, it reminded me of the outside walkway by the Marshall Center at USF, which is one of my favorite spots in the world.)

Then, I was invited to the Italian Embassy for a pizza party! Whew! This Embassy knows how to party! They've built a brick oven in the middle of the entrance way, so they can eat authentic Italian pizza. There was a DJ spinning on the balcony, and an occasional guy would hose everyone off down below because not only was it 100 degrees outside, but the oven was flamin' and OH, MAN, THE PIZZA WAS GOOD. There is one guy kneading the dough and he passes it on and one guy puts on the toppings and one guy mans the oven. I immediately made friends with the toppings guy and ordered up a mushroom and green pepper pizza which they promptly made. I stayed at the party about an hour and they cooked pizza continuously the entire time. When you want a piece of pizza you get in line, you're passed a plate and as soon as it comes out, it's cut and passed out and you basically take what you get. I had a piece of pizza with tuna, (I took a bite and gave it away, it was OK, but it was still tuna on pizza) and a pepper & shroom slice and a cheese less piece that tasted like bruschetta. The pizza is light on the cheese and sauce and the crust is thin. Delish! Even the tuna~surprisingly. Had I not been so exhausted I would have probably stayed for hours, next time I will know to rest up.

I walked home with my friend and it was the first time I walked through the IZ and it was dark. It was fine, we were unscathed, but we both had that feeling like, uh, is this a good idea. My mom got me a cute, hot pink, 3 inch mag light that I've been carrying everywhere with my whistle and this was the first night I did not have it in my bag! The night I decide to walk in the dark! ha! It would have been much easier to see the potholes. I took a few trips on my way home. (pun intended, hehehe)

However, the mag did come in handy yesterday when the power went out in the Embassy for an hour. My computer was still running for the first 30 minutes in the dark but then everything went down and the whole palace played a gigantic game of hide and go seek.

... not really, but I wanted to, how fun would that have been!?! ...maybe next time. Apparently the power shutting out is normal in August because it's so hot and the AC is on overdrive. Good thing I've got a stylish mag to tote around jic!

I have a lot of fun pictures which I plan to post soon. I'm still not a pro at this whole blogging yet, though I hope you are enjoying my stories.

THANK YOU for the emails and notes! I received 4 letters & 2 care packages in the mail yesterday and had about a dozen emails to read it was the best day here yet! (I especially love the post cards, since you know I collect them to live vicariously through you as if I've been to the locations you have traveled) Thank you! I shed some happy tears to hear from you at home, it's an indescribable emotion to know I have so many people thinking about me. Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers. I am so grateful. Sorry for the delay in my response, but expect replies soon.

Also, my dog bite is almost better. It's still pretty disgusting, but I figure it's the closet trauma I'm going to get to a war story, so I'm pretty confident you are happy to get an update.