I have been waking up at around 3 or 5 am lately, thinking of things I need to do before I go, so I go and get a pad and write them down, and then go back to sleep. Also taken up meditating again, which helps to clear my mind.
But this morning I woke up thinking, and panicked, what if they don't give me a visa to live in Kurdistan?? Ha, yes. I was thinking I will have trekked all my gear (14 boxes at this point) costing about 2 grand, over there. I've decided to get the airfreight company to hold my gear in NZ till I have my visa, then send it. And I'll just have to come back. I guess I could try and get one for a lesser time, a few weeks. At least I would have all the footage from the US, that's all good.
Getting a visa in Kurdistan is this really full-on procedure: you go to this building where they take your cellphone (in case you blow up an IED or a bomb) and then you go inside to this warren of rooms and corridors and its chock full of bored and moody-looking young males from Turkey and Iran - displaced Kurds coming back to the New Iraq to get work. They are all waiting outside rooms, bodies against bodies. You go to one room, and they give you a paper, and you go to another room, and you wait while they look at it, then send you to another room, and you wait again, and so on and so on for about two or three hours. Thankfully I had the driver of Mr. Kako, the Assyrian MP I was staying with to tag along after while he did the biz. It would have totally floored me otherwise.
There is this online travelling guy, Wandering Earl, who gives a great description of it:
But it was intense, and I really loved it. I have a "spy camera" now, so I am going to try to get some footage when I go there this time cos it would be good for the film, showing the influx of migrants, and of course its going to be difficult for Assyrians to get jobs, competing against Kurds who speak the language.