09 June, 2010

Suly 2: Feels like Asia

When i walked into Suly, i felt i'd traveled far more than a hundred kilometers east.

There are two major dialects of Kurdish, Sorani and Kurmanji. While Sorani, spoken in Turkiye and northwestern K-stan, is written with the roman alphabet, the Kurmanji dialect is written in Arabic script. Signage here, far more than Erbil, relies on Kurmanji, and thus where i could once guess at the names on a menu, i am now reduced to pointing. Where the script is increasingly stylized, it reminds me of Indian scripts. Font styles and graphic design choices also add to the increasing Asian twist.

It doesn't stop there. Perhaps due to the weak restrictions on foreign workers, - now open for eight weeks, the small, six story Kaso Mall near Suly's traditional bazaar was a joint venture with China. When i buy a chocolate covered ice cream bar i read the wrapper: it's made in Iran - which lies just the other side of these mountains.