Another ziggurat at Nippur and a most authentic experience:  Uruk in a sand storm.

We are staying at the worst hotel in the most boring town in Iraq, so it seems:  As Samawa.  There is nothing to look at here, but As Samawa provides a convenient half-way point between Najaf and Basra and allows us to take in a maximum number of historical sites.  The speed and efficiency at which we are checking off important sites is truly breath-taking.  One factor for this speed is that we not only have our own private transportation – a luxury you rarely have when you are an individual traveler – but that we are escorted with sirens and blue-lights the minute there is the slightest amount of traffic.  We pass cars even when it is not safe since the oncoming traffic will simply be waved out of the way – into the ditch if need be; hopefully not.  When we are out of gas and there is a line at the gas station – that happens more often than not – we will be squeezed in before all other cars.  I am not comfortable with this arrangement at all; none of us is, but we have no control over it, not even Geoff.   Our escorts are so reckless at times, you want them to be arrested, but they seem to be above the law.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY