Today is Friday, which is essentially the equivalent of Sunday here in Iraq. That means that the stores (including the internet cafes) do not open until late in the afternoon, and the streets are generally a little less congested. It is also the day of the manufactured protests at the mosques, where individuals are paid to participate by disgruntled fans of the former regime.
Because I could not check my email at the cafe, I made my way to the Green Zone this morning. It was a longer ride than usual, because four bridges across the Tigris were closed, and traffic did not seem to have taken a holiday. My taxi driver kept in reasonably good spirits, repeating "It is Friday. Go home and sleep" to the surrounding traffic. At one point he asked where I am from in America. I have lived enough places that this question could receive many answers, but for today, the answer was Chicago. "Oh, Chicago," he exclaimed. "Me, I am from Texas. Cowboy," he replied with a chuckle. When I finally got to the street leading to the Green Zones checkpoints, I found that it was closed. I tried to weasel my way through, but the Iraqi police would have none of it. So it was back to the hotel, to indulge the amoebas which had decided to have a bit of a party at my expense. Im sure it will be all the rage soon. Just call it the Mesopotamian diet.