After more than 30 hours of travelling, with 3 plane changes…we were finally about to land in Erbil. It was 1:02am when the pilot announced that our descent would be delayed “due to airspace problems”. It was difficult to stop myself from staring out the window…watching the blood red moon pass through the small clouds, and the lights below, which hadn’t changed position for what seemed like an excruciatingly long time. Completely silent in the plane, the passengers had been belted up for the past 20 minutes in anticipation of our descent. Time refused to pass, and we were tens of thousands of feet in the air….breathing shallowly, with hearts pounding, trying desperately not to let our fear overwhelm us. I was sharing a row with an interesting (and obviously very hardworking) man from Lafayette, Louisiana who spent 35 days on, and 35 days off his job as a logistician for a big company involved with the oil rigs. He had worked many places, including Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia where he met his wife, and now lived with her and their two teenaged sons. He had much to say about how “European” Erbil city had grown, and how safe it was. That is….until we were stranded at 30 thousand feet, hovering over Erbil with no explanations coming from our captain. We just sat, stony faced, jaws set, and waited for what seemed eternity, but was actually only 45 minutes. We finally landed nearly an hour late. I picked up my bags and headed by bus to the main terminal where I was met by George the driver. We listened to Babylon radio station playing fusion jazz while we sailed through the outskirts of the city and now am settled into a huge and beautiful air conditioned room. Lovely Ankawa, the old Christian part of Erbil where I’ll enjoy for the next couple of days till I head north.