Monday, January 8, 2007

Why it's never safe to go for a walk in Baghdad in the rain (or otherwise)

Today, as I was taking one of the dogs out for a walk (the vicious one named "Flower"), she stepped on a live electrical wire submerged in a puddle. She yelped and took off running, pulling the leash out of my hand. I didn't realize what had happened and an Iraqi guard went chasing after her.

It was then I felt a buzz in my hands and realized we'd both been electrocuted.

And here I was worried about the gun battles that have raged for most of the day!

Without realizing it, my cell phone, which was in my pocket, dialed a U.S. military officer here in Baghdad. When he answered and I didn't respond, he called back and calmed me with a story of how he and his friends, when they were younger, would compete to see who could hold on longest to an electrical fence.

If I wasn't on my ass, he said, I'd be fine.

There have been several large explosions in the midst of today's battles. And those battles have lasted much longer than usual. It isn't clear yet whether this is part of Prime Minister Maliki's security crackdown or something else altogether.

Last night, we also had some very late rocket or mortar launches close by that shook my room.

It is rainy and cold in Baghdad. And certainly gloomy. But that's only partly due to the weather.

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