Good Eats

President Talabani invited me to dinner at one of his palaces. Not just me, three offices that have aided his staff and country, to say thank you for our hard work. Though I've been here just a month, previous colleagues have worked diligently and I've had the opportunity to join in reaping the benefits.

The pictures are not of his residence, just one of his entertaining palaces inside the IZ.
Iraqis put on a spread! This is my favorite meal thus far, it's called quzi (sounds like coozie). It's a baby lamb on a plate of sweet rice (rice with raisins) and french fries.
This is a white fish, fresh from the Tigris. Pretty good. I was a bit wary of eating from the Tigris, but I got my fair portion. I had picked just a bite and put it on my plate, when one Iraqi sees me and says, "Bet!" (not many can pronounces the 'th' so I am Bet to a lot of people, and Elizabeth to others because when they get very confused over Beth, I offer, Elizabeth and they say, Oh, oh, Elizabeth, pretty name : )
"Bet, where is your fish?"
"Oh, I have some," I say. (looking at my picked portion the size of a quarter)
"No, here is your fish!"
--and before I have a chance to protest 3/4 of my plate is full of fish!

Dinner was lovely and it was a great experience. I'm sure it will not be often I get to dine at the President's palace!

There are a lot of activities here and I've been making the most of them and have not had a chance to get bored.

I saw the movie '21' at the palace movie theater. It's basically a home theater in the basement. Movies play every night at 7:30 and 10pm. I caught the early show with a friend and it was comfortable. There's a popcorn machine there, the chairs are comfortable and overall it's pretty normal.

There is a Chinese restaurant here in the IZ called Freedom Chinese. I went there for lunch. If I had a food blog* I would not give it a good review.

There are no egg rolls or egg drop soup or General Tso's chicken or chopsticks or fortune cookies. (what do you go to a Chinese restaurant for?!) It was also over priced and since there is food flowing like a river at the DFAC, I probably will not venture to this restaurant again.

What I ate: sweet and sour chicken, which was chicken bites in a sweet glaze (not the usual deep fried chicken puffs you pour the red sauce all over ... mouth watering...) and beef and egg, which was good, just nothing to really write home about.

haha! Though you see I am writing home because it is at least a story, no?