Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Monday, October 29, 2012

An amusement park in Iraq

Yes, I'm still in Iraq and still having a great time! I'll soon be heading home to Spain and my series about this trip will start on Gadling in less than two weeks.

In the meantime, here are some glimpses of Happy Land amusement park in Basra. It's located on the bank of the Shatt-Al-Arab waterway and is a popular spot for families. The whole riverfront is lined with cafes and benches and at night you can see Happy Land's Ferris Wheel for miles. I didn't go inside but I could see they had rides, a restaurant, and of course cotton candy!

This is an Iraq you won't see on the news. A troubled nation like this one only gets airtime when something blows up. That's sad, because most people here just want to live in peace and get some enjoyment out of life. I've seen families going out for dinner, groups of friends lounging in the park, old men chatting over cups of tea in cafes. . .all the usual day-to-day activities we see in every country. Yet the news makes us want to believe that nothing happens here except suicide bombings and sectarian killings.

The more I write about "dangerous" places in the world, the more I get the feeling that my calling is to be the alternative voice to the news, the one that writes about going out to eat in Ethiopia, or Somalis living in peace, or family nights out in Iraq. Virtually no one else is writing these stories, at least in English, and they desperately need to be written.

It's not that I'm ignoring the bad stuff, I just feel that the bad stuff is getting enough airplay already. It's time people got to see more of the good stuff.


  1. No matter what the country, people are still people. Thanks for sharing this side of Iraq with us.

  2. There are plenty more stories to come once my series on Gadling starts. Stay tuned!


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