» Baghdad Diary »
The 10-hour drive through the desert to Baghdad is perhaps one of the most boring journeys on the planet. This time around, it was just me and an Iraqi taxi driver. He spoke no English, I speak no Arabic. How did we break the ice? Aishwarya Rai, of course. Like much of West Asia, Iraqis love Bollywood and this man was no exception. So, after we both agreed that Ms Rai was indeed the best looking thing alive today, he pulled out his film library and we settled down to a marathon movie session, courtesy of the dvd player screwed onto the dashboard. In fact, Bollywood is so popular here it’s even entered the language. When deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz lost patience with Richard Butler, who was running the inspection team, in 1997, he threw his hands in the air and declared that Butler and his team were "behaving like an Indian film". Which has been explained to me by an Iraqi colleague as meaning something that is totally chaotic but in the end utterly predictable.