Saturday, November 08, 2003


The ice-cream parlor is open...
Think of Iraq and you will probably think about conflict, danger and uncertainty; you almost certainly will not have thoughts about ice cream.

But there is still room for treats in the midst of the troubles there.

It's fresh, it's cold and it's popular -- Al Faqma, located in the centre of Baghdad, is Iraq's best-known ice-cream parlour.

It doesn't offer "31 Flavours" or "Strawberry Saddam", but does specialise in the best ices this side of the Euphrates.

"We are trying to restore a sense of normality to our lives," said ice-cream fan Rana Al-Oubaydi...

Al Faqma's pistachio flavour is so good that in the old days, ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is reported to have sent his bodyguards down here each week to pick up a few pints.

The managers of Al Faqma appear to have won some favours in return.

The store never had any difficulty obtaining the French natural flavourings and colourings it uses, despite the decade-long United Nations trade embargo.

Ah, yes...those embargo busting French.

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