Amarah Flotilla Event - 8 October
Today after a breakfast of Qahi and Qamar (an Iraqi pastry served with syrup and buffalo cream), we went to the river to prepare for the event. Such things are rather long, drawn out speeches in Arabic and so I was glad to finally get the call to head for the boats.
Dr. Alwash addressing the crowd
Marsh Sheikhs along the corniche in Amarah
Me with our homemade Secchi Disk (used for measuring the transparency of the water)
After our event we took a drive into the Central Marshes to visit a newly flooded area and talk to the fishermen and other locals there.
Dr. Alwash discussing the finer points of flooding dried marshlands with the sheikhs
The press along for the trip interviewing a local fisherman
A few years back, the government introduced fish to the marshes apparently telling the local people that they were 'bunni', a favored native fish ... in fact they were Tilapia, a non-native species. Within a few short years, Tilapia have become the predominate fish of the marshlands and seem to be displacing some of its native fish.
After the trip to the marshlands we repaired to Sayid Abbas' house for lunch and a visit to his Mudhief (a guest house built entirely out of reeds).
Me at the entrance of the Mudheif
Interior of Mudhief
After the Mudhief we traveled to visit an old jewish shrine on the Tigris. The shrine features the tomb of Ezra and is ow a mosque, but you can still see the hebrew language throughout this ancient building.
V and I before the tomb of Ezra (abayas are required and once you wear one you realize how difficult they are to keep on your head)
Ancient door to Ezra's Shrine
Detail of the ceiling in Ezra's Shrine
Tomorrow we start the next leg of our journey ... Amarah to Qurnah. We have set an ambitious schedule and will attempt to do over 20 km tomorrow (the longest distance we've covered was around 15-16 km).