THE POLICE STATION
wanted to see the Zagros mountains, a mountain range
along the Iraqi- Iranian border. In particular the
Ali Gully Beg waterfalls that I read to be in several
a km long narrow canyon, near the town of Dyanah.
From Erbil I took a filled-up minibus that in 4h sneaked
in the mountains along the hairpins. The landscape
was quite green and the temperature a little chilly.
There was no risk to get bore during such travel,
since the checkpoints were so frequent that I didn't
spend too much time without getting off, showing my
document and getting questioned by some agitated militaries.
This part of the Kurdistan is very beautiful but it's
also supposed to be the headquarters of the PKK, so
Dyanah is a kind of far-west-town, namely all the
shops and the police station spread along one dusty
street with just one hotel that besides seemed abandoned,
in fact it took 30min to find the owner.
Moreover the town, surrounded by snow topped mountains,
was shrouded in the haze.
I was in the hotel when I heard some noises, and suddenly
two armed soldiers came up nervously. They couldn't
speak English, anyway they didn't seem even interested
to communicate with me. They just put me and my backpack
on the military jeep and headed to the police station.
There, a bunch of soldiers gathered around speaking
in Kurdish. I had a small dictionary, but I didn't
manage to explain I was a tourist. For the whole time
I felt like a monkey at the zoo:
"Come on people, the show of the day is the Italian
in Dyanah! You can even try to throw him peanuts.
Don't miss him and buy the ticket now!"
Then the chief came. I thought I could have clarified
everything, but his English was worst than my Kurdish.
He was nervously flicking through my passport without
even recognising the Iraqi visa. Meanwhile he was
keeping on asking something I couldn't understand.
It passed one hour where I tried to convince him to
phone to somebody to translate and finally he did.
It was funny spending the time speaking and then passing
the phone to each other, as we were doing some kind
of game. When he finally understood I was just a tourist
he seemed very relieved. I took the chance and I persuaded
him to write a sort of permit for the future checkpoints
that turned out useful.
Then they took me back at the hotel and I felt a kind
of star parading on the jeep through the town; after
they greeted me I was so tired I had a great sleep.