Since Samawa is located on the banks of the Euphrates in a sandy area, we felt we were in a mosquito-danger area. I had to be aware of the terrible invisible mosquitoes that bit on the back side of the palm. They must have been sand fleas, but I am not sure. We called them “Pindino mosquito”. I still don't know what that means, but I did see the consequences of their bites when some of the Soviet specialists had been bitten by them and I had to take those men to the doctor's as an interpreter. The bites of those dangerous mosquitoes are brutal because you don't feel them biting, you just get an itchy red spot like a mosquito bite. The spot becomes bigger and bigger and grows in cycles around the wound resulting in itching decaying tissue around the bite. Lots of injections is the only treatment…I had no insect repellent and thank God I was not bitten by any flea or bug.
You can read more about those pests:
Sand flea treatment
How to avoid them
Loads of sand fleas
Bathing in the Iraqi rivers is out of the question: they are too polluted.
The Tigris and the Euphrates get shallow in the summer.
This is the picture of the shallow Euphrates in July when the temperature was +58 Centigrade.
You can only walk along its bank (what used to be a river bottom) and please: do not try to bathe there.
No experiments, please!
The main thing we, Soviet specialists staying in Iraq, had in mind was that there was a war going on around us.
We only felt it twice near our place. To be more precise, we heard its menacing sounds (machine-guns fire, aircrafts flying past our city)...
On the whole, our area was more or less safe as far as the hostilities were concerned. Thank God nothing tragic happened.
It's Baghdad, need I say more? Seriously, though, the International or "Green" Zone is a relatively safe place.
For women in particular, though, I would recommend a male companion after dark... I don't go out alone either, so don't want to sound sexist!
To the author of the last post, man, what a whiny douche you are, so typically ignorant of history and current events. Have you ever visited Iraq or talked with anyone unfortunate enough to have lived through Saddam’s regime? I bet you haven’t, because if you did you’d know that majority of the Iraqi people are grateful for Saddam’s overthrow. The only people YOU speak for are the spoiled, lazy, ignorant people who all all talk, no thought.
I would LOVE to throw you back into time, when Saddam was in power. You’d be crying for your luxuries back at home in no time, crying for your mother, your Playstation, your friggin computer, and crying for the President of the U.S. to make Saddam’s soldiers stop cornholing you in some Iraqi prison.
Revolutions have casualties, and sometimes these revolutions aren’t pretty or peaceful, but they’re effective. Go back to any coup since the beginning of time and you’ll see a pattern of bloodshed and terror, followed by a time of rebuilding, enlightenment, and peace.
I suppose you’d have everyone in Iraq holding hands and hugging, throwing down their guns while standing under the big rainbow over Saddam’s palace. Well keep dreaming, because it ain’t happenin’.
You’re probably a fat, lazy waste of sperm and egg with a nice cushy job somewhere, with a nice house and an SUV… someone spoiled brat living somewhere making assumptions about things you couldn’t dream about knowing. You know how I know this? Because your kind is easy to spot --you’re the type who’s never had to think because you’ve had others thinking for you your whole life. What a sad little douchebag you are. It must be nice to be so lazy and ignorant, and it must be so comfortable to sit back, enjoying life at a distance.
You blame other nations for problems you couldn’t possible comprehend, complex problems that are far beyond the reach of your pathetic little mind. Go whine to your mother, and don’t forget to tell her what a terrific job she did raising such a feeble-minded maggot.
You would think that these people would avoid a military convoy but they are oblivious to anything except getting somewhere in a hurry.
I was driving a truck in the middle of this military convoy and we were activly trying to keep civilians out. I had orders to bump them if I had to. If I had more horsepower I would have clipped this guy!
I read once that you can tell a lot about a culture by their driving habits. The drivers here are impatient, rude, dangerous, and drive anywhere they can fit a vehicle in. Make you own conclusions.
The roads still aren't safe for foreigners, so bring a few friends along that have locked and loaded weapons...you never know when you are going to need it. For the most part, the roads would appear safe. Many of the Iraqis will wave and smile knowing that their freedoms are slowly reviving. They drive terrible though, and love to ride up on your tail and try to box your vehicle. Just bring a decent vehicle and they won't be able to keep up. Typical vehicles on the road are 1970 and 80's Toyota Corollas.