I had a pretty cool adventure the other day. I'm going to Italy soon to visit my boyfriend, so I had to arrange travel out of Baghdad Airport. We have two choices for flying out of here. The first is to hop a military airlift out of Baghdad to Kuwait, and then hop mil air or civilian air out of Kuwait. Sounds simple enough, really, but it is anything but--especially during the holidays. Military have priority, and it is space available, so it's easy to get stuck in Baghdad, or Kuwait, or both, for several days on both ends of the trip. The other option we have is to purchase a flight on Iraqi air out of Baghdad, fly to Dubai, U.A.E., and then fly to the desired destination. I decided to pretend that Iraqi Air's maintenance and training schedule is on par with that of the U.S., and I opted for Option B.
I purchased my roundtrip ticket from Dubai to Pisa quite a while back, but I had been waiting for help from one of our Iraqi advisors to secure my Iraqi Air ticket. The trouble with that process is that you have to go to their office in downtown Baghdad, or to their offices at the airport, and pay for the ticket in cash (about $400 U.S.). One side of Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) is military, and the other side, though very restricted and quite secure, is civilian. I had to visit the civilian side.
Leaving Camp Liberty to venture to BIAP.
It was a little disconcerting just because we (my Iraqi-American friend) and I had to drive off of the base to get there. We left the haven of Camp Victory and Camp Liberty and drove down what was once a very busy main freeway toward the airport. There were very few cars on the road, and the outside wall was laced with concertina wire and had a guard shack with a couple of .50 calibre machine guns sticking out of it spaced every couple hundred meters along the wall. It was actually pretty cool...but very eerie. (One end of the road is controlled by the Coalition, and the other is controlled by Iraqi Army.)
The sun began to set as we made out way through Camp Liberty to Camp Victory.