I spent the afternoon in a web cafe catching up on blog posts, and waiting until my CS host finished teaching for the evening. I took a taxi to the Kalahadji neighborhood, borrowed a greengrocer's phone, and he picked me up. Beginning on the short walk to his home, Andy told me about his work, the neighborhood, Kurdish cultural peculiarities, and a great many things throughout the evening.
Kalahadji is a middle class neighborhood, and Suly is the most developed and liberal place in Kurdistan. He tells me that different political parties control Suly and Erbil, hence liquor stores (which are absent in all but the Christian quarter of Erbil) can be found throughout town. Women in Suly dress more casually in general; i see fewer wearing black, and women with uncovered heads are quite common.
My host turns out to be another of those grand finds that only couchsurfing could lead you to. He's an American teaching English in startup programs, and he has piles of stories from his two years in Iraq, time at the American University of Afghanistan - in short, he's lived in tight-security conditions.
4 weeks ago