Trip to Baghdad

I had to go down to Baghdad for a couple day of work in early March, and a friend of mine told me I should ring the Joint Visitors Bureau and see if they have any available space.  Normally the JVB is reserved for full Colonels and Generals, but sometimes they have empty space.  I was fortunate, they had room! 

Please CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL to see the larger pictures. The number in ( ) tells the size of the large picture.

I stayed right on the water.  On the left behind me was the JVB hotel.  On the right is the palace which is the corps headquarters. (128kb)


You can tell from this picture that the Vorpal Bunny was happy to be out. (94kb) A view (from across the water) of the Al Faw Palace, headquarters for the Multi-National Corps - Iraq. (197kb)
A closer view of the palace.  The bridge on the right edge of the picture is the one you walk across. (142kb)


On the bridge, looking straight at the palace.  (182kb) To the right side of the bridge, the vorpal bunny and I were looking at the palace. (228kb)


Another view, without me in the way. 
On the right side of the far end of the bridge directly under the central arch in this picture) is a place where all the fish congregate because folks feed them...  (267kb)


A shot of all the massive carp that congregate at the end of the bridge.  (168kb) The swarm that happens when you toss a small cracker into the water.  (227kb)
. The Vorpal Bunny overlooking the lake, with the hotel in the background on the left.  The "orange juicer" on the right is another palace which is MNF-I headquarters. (235kb) A daylight shot. (197kb)


A view from the front corner of the palace, showing the lake and the tent/trailer city, living quarters of many of the service members.  (230kb)

Information on the palace. (254kb)


The central gallery in the middle of the palace.  All the offices are around the outside of the gallery.  (197kb)



A shot looking up, showing the massive chandelier in the center. (198kb)
A reduced light shot looking down on the massive central chandelier. (356kb)


An example of the central ceiling in one of the work area rooms. (367kb) One of the many inlaid plaques decorating the halls of the palace.  (179kb)


The Vorpal Bunny and I sitting on Sadam's massive (and horrendously ugly) chair.  (244kb) Another shot (292kb)  
Even the bathrooms in the palace are very fancy.  This is a co-ed outer washroom.  (170kb)  An example of a very fancy, marble and inlaid bathroom, complete with bidet.  (237kb)


The Vorpal Bunny showing off the fancy toilet. (229kb)
The third floor circular hallway, overlooking the open center gallery. (212kb) The Vorpal Bunny not looking happy about the perch over the gallery. (218kb)


One of the outer hallways, showing the lack of careful craftsmanship by the wobbly line of lights. (302kb)


The Vorpal Bunny, out on another forward operating base, checking out the "Perfume Palace" where Saddam's women all stayed. (165kb) The Vorpal Bunny and I checking out another partially built palace.  The legend has it that Saddam was working on the "Victory over America" wing when we attacked.  The German cranes haven't moved since 2003. (165kb)


Another shot of the Vorpal Bunny checking out the half constructed palace. (158kb)



My return trip was originally scheduled to be an Air Force flight, but they wanted me to fly from Baghdad to Qatar and then back to Balad. Absolute madness! So I arranged a helicopter flight instead.

The Vorpal Bunny and I buckled in. (254kb)

A random shot out the window of the helicopter. Fields and a living area. (176kb)


Another shot, showing a housing area. (169kb)
The Vorpal Bunny and I, having survived the trip, were ready to celebrate! (211kb)    

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