It is over a year ago that I paid a deposit for a trip to Iraq. Iraq is the centre piece of my forthcoming 3 week break. I have been asked often about my impending holiday destination. When the answer was Iraq the responses varied from raised eyebrows to downright dismay. For all of the recent historical conflict in Iraq, not much of significance has actually happened in the southern section where I will be travelling. That is not, of course, until the last 4 days where violent anti government protest has resulted in 60 deaths and many more with serious injuries.
Back when I booked this trip a Hong Kong stopover would not have rated. Fast forward to late 2019 and how times have changed. Less than 18 hours before I arrive the news reporting on the 70th anniversary of the creation of the People Republic of China shows mass protest, tear gas and water cannons and the shooting of a protestor by police. It is at more of a flashpoint than Iraq has been.
On landing it is a rare sunny day in Honkers and, with a long stopover there, we take the opportunity to leave the airport and catch the train into town and up to Victoria Peak. It is a warm, steamy but amazingly well lit sunny morning. We have breakfast there and take our fill of photos looking down over Hong Kong before taking the tourist tram down the mountain and the train back to the airport. Less than 12 hours after we leave the protestors target the train network destroying ticket machines and occupying stations. The government responds by closing down the rail system. The only evidence of the demonstrations we see on our perfectly timed foray is random anti government graffiti.