Must read: Fallujah gets its first western tourist

posted at 2:30 pm on February 7, 2009 by Allahpundit

Absolutely my favorite news story of the year thus far, bar none. What’s a young man with money in his pocket, adventure on his mind, and wanderlust in his heart to do these days? Backpacking across Europe is cliche; hiking through the Himalayas isn’t daring enough. A true explorer needs to think outside the box, off the “Lonely Planet” grid, as it were.

Hey, how about “one of Iraq’s least foreigner-friendly cities”? With no security, to boot?

“I am a tourist. I want to see the most important cities in the country. That is the reason why I am here now,” he said in heavily accented English. “I want to see and understand the reality because I have never been here before, and I think every country in the world must be seen.”…

After being made aware of Mr. Marchio’s presence in the country by The New York Times, the Italian Embassy in Baghdad established that Mr. Marchio had traveled from Italy to Egypt, then to Turkey, and from there to northern Iraq over land. A photocopy of his passport shows that he obtained a 10-day visa and crossed the border from Turkey to Kurdistan.

Then came a 200-mile journey by taxi from Erbil, the Kurdistan regional capital, to Baghdad, where a startled Bashar Yacoub, 31, reception manager at the Coral Palace — a hotel that had not had a casual Western visitor since the American invasion in 2003 — took his details…

The next morning he set out for Falluja despite the hotel staff’s efforts to dissuade him, insisting on taking a public bus to the city, 40 miles west of Baghdad.

Within hours, the hotel staff received a call from the Falluja police. “I wasn’t surprised when they called,” Mr. Yacoub said. The police told him that they had found Mr. Marchio in a minibus next to a woman who sold fresh milk, yogurt and cream door to door. “They were very worried about him,” Mr. Yacoub said.

There’s more, but I’m going to stop here because I want you to read it all — especially the U.S. Marine’s suggestion of where to drop him off. Exit quotation: “No Israeli stamp or any crossing point with Israel stamp should be on your passport this includes Araba border, Sheikh Hussein border, Rafah border, and Taba border.”


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“What was I thinking”…

nationspatriotcom on February 7, 2009 at 2:45 PM

He’s got some big cajones.

BJ on February 7, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Mr. Marchio has lost his mind.
He may soon lose his head as well.

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Haha.

I read a travel article about Falluja circa 1940′s, Falluja is then described as a place to avoid. I believe the term used was “den of thieves.”

Theworldisnotenough on February 7, 2009 at 2:47 PM

“Next Stop, Lebanon!”

nationspatriotcom on February 7, 2009 at 2:48 PM

I believe it..
another STUPID kid or a liberal
who actually thinks

hey let me just waltz into a muslim area
and start playing my music
wearing my ear-rings

Hey wile all of you liberals are at it
How about having a tour group from say
ohh san-fran-sicko
stage a gay , bi and transgendered parade
right though the middle of mosul or fallugia..

a. i wonder how long before your heads will all end up on a stick
b. I dont doubt you liberals would try this in the name of tolerance..
c. Also just to Embaress the entire USA in front of EVERY islamic terrorist world wide..

I really thing michael savage is right
Liberalism is a mental disease

and democrats are ALL
mentally ILL..
MORONS..

I can see it now

but after we elected barack and surrendered
i thought the muslims would all love us now,,
what do you mean they are carving my head off with a rusty knife.

Oh yea and the final blow to add insult to your be-heading
ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and all of the liberal stations
wont even MENTION your deaths

or if they do ..
GET this

You liberal morons will have been killed by the same islamic head chopping FREEDMON fighters that
ALL the democommies are so in love with

Its your bed your frigging Morons
sleep in it..
at least while your head is still attached

jcila on February 7, 2009 at 2:48 PM

In Italian, “pazzesco cacato blocco”

SDSquint on February 7, 2009 at 2:49 PM

He’ll write a book, then retire.

Assuming he lives, that is.

Bob's Kid on February 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM

“What was I thinking”…

nationspatriotcom on February 7, 2009 at 2:45 PM

“YES WE CAN!” ?

the_nile on February 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM

The dude is lucky he didn’t run into Noneya while he was there, she would have tossed a grenade at him.

Bishop on February 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM

He’s lucky he didn’t get his ass kidnapped.

Talk about a babe in the woods. That’s a textbook example of having tapioca pudding where the brains are supposed to be.

Edouard on February 7, 2009 at 2:51 PM

This story reminds me of something…something…
.
.
.
Almost like this story is a metaphor of something bigger…

Weight of Glory on February 7, 2009 at 2:54 PM

I remember reading a piece by Mark Steyn shortly after the invasion. He drove into Iraq and actually did to some running around. If I recall correctly he talked about stopping in Hit {I think it was} and eating chicken.

I bet people do stuff like this more than you know.

Terrye on February 7, 2009 at 3:00 PM

What happened, was north korea closed on the weekend?

Defector01 on February 7, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Wow.

CP on February 7, 2009 at 3:03 PM

“No Israeli stamp or any crossing point with Israel stamp should be on your passport this includes Araba border, Sheikh Hussein border, Rafah border, and Taba border.”

Some things about Iraq haven’t changed since Saddam’s days, and probably never will.

ProfessorMiao on February 7, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Go to Bugmenot.com for a password so you don’t have to waste your time registering for the Gray Lady.

jimmy the notable on February 7, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Well, ~someone~ has to be the first tourist.

FierceGuppy on February 7, 2009 at 3:13 PM

With the end of the War on WTF, anxious tourists want the honor of sipping the first peace lattes in the capitals of the oppressed.

BL@KBIRD on February 7, 2009 at 3:13 PM

“He is a little bit naïve.”

…… well, that just about sums it up.

Seven Percent Solution on February 7, 2009 at 3:14 PM

But I thought Iraq is a quagmire and plunged in civil war.

Darth Executor on February 7, 2009 at 3:16 PM

What’s that old saying……..?

“If you can keep your head on straight, while all those around you are loosing theirs…..”

Seven Percent Solution on February 7, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Actually, from the time Bush stood under “Mission Accomplished” until sometime in Spring of 2004, it would have been perfectly acceptable to roam many parts of the country in a rental car from Kuwait. I convoyed in in Jan 2004 among civilian traffic on the highways. It wasn’t until the insurgency really ramped up that it became suicidal to go there in anything less than a Bradley fighting vehicle.

This dude is a friggin moron.

Youngs98 on February 7, 2009 at 3:19 PM

As my late father was wont to say, “Courage is often borne of ignorance or stupidity.”

w b h on February 7, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Reminds me of Charles Dean, Howie’s brother, who in 1974, thought it was a really cool idea to raft down the Mekong River from Nepal to Thailand. Duh.

Blake on February 7, 2009 at 3:20 PM

I remember reading a piece by Mark Steyn shortly after the invasion. He drove into Iraq and actually did to some running around. If I recall correctly he talked about stopping in Hit {I think it was} and eating chicken.

I bet people do stuff like this more than you know.

Terrye on February 7, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Nobody does that completely solitary. At least, you have to have an escort, or some kind of security contingent or clearly delineated safety strategy.

This Italian fool clearly had no truly well-conceived plan for looking after his own safety.

In Western countries, we are fortunate to be free to travel from place to place without having to be guarded while doing so, because such security measures have been necessary for most travel in most places throughout the millennia of human history.

Edouard on February 7, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Maybe he’s a kung fu grandmaster who can deflect bullets by flexing his chest muscles and kill you by spitting a toothpick through your eye right into your brain.

Darth Executor on February 7, 2009 at 3:24 PM

He’ll get whacked and the British media will blame America and George Bush.

thomasaur on February 7, 2009 at 3:50 PM

What stood out to me from this story is…it’s not a horror story, but a comedy. Some clueless buffoon wanders into a rough neighborhood and escapes unscathed but with a great story to tell. Iraq has come a long way in a pretty short time,(thank you President Bush and thanks to the US and Iraqi military) even if there is still plenty of danger. I drove convoys through most of the country in ’05 and I always said it would be cool to go back and look around someday when things settled down. Iraq will one day be a great country to visit, but I think this guy jumped the gun just a bit. I’m glad he’s OK.

Mord on February 7, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Don’t be surprised if in a few years Iraq is generally considered a safer tourist destination than many traditional places – heck, than much of Europe and even much of the US.

I said safer, not safe.

CK MacLeod on February 7, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Absolutely my favorite news story of the year thus far, bar none.

You’re easily amused.

repvoter on February 7, 2009 at 4:09 PM

This reminds me of a Dagwood comic strip I cut out and saved. Dagwood was showing his kids the family photo album and he said, “That’s my cousin Manfred Bumstead. He marched alone through the driest deserts, the fiercest jungles, and the most dangerous swamps.” His kids said, “Wow! He must have really been a great explorer!” Dagwood replied, “No, he was just stupid.”

backwoods conservative on February 7, 2009 at 4:24 PM

That’s a textbook example of having tapioca pudding where the brains are supposed to be.

Edouard on February 7, 2009 at 2:51 PM

What do you have against tapioca pudding?

platypus on February 7, 2009 at 4:50 PM

My Nephew was stationed in Fallujah. He loved it there and the people. But he stated that is isn’t the place anyone would want to visit. His second tour he went to Fallujah. He was amazed at how much it changed for the better. Not sure if it is wise to go there for vacation. That man was lucky he didn’t lose his head…….

sheebe on February 7, 2009 at 4:53 PM

The dude is lucky he didn’t run into Noneya while he was there, she would have tossed a grenade at him.

Bishop on February 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM

LMAO!! You have a point there. She does hate men.

sheebe on February 7, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Not sure if it is wise to go there for vacation. That man was lucky he didn’t lose his head…….

sheebe on February 7, 2009 at 4:53 PM

So then what’s the difference between Fallujah and Chicago again?

TheEJS on February 7, 2009 at 5:08 PM

That’s you isn’t it AP?

conservnut on February 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM

The dude is lucky he didn’t run into Noneya while he was there, she would have tossed a grenade at him.

Bishop on February 7, 2009 at 2:50 PM
LMAO!! You have a point there. She does hate men.

sheebe on February 7, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Allah whacked her with the banning stick.

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Allah whacked her with the banning stick.

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Good news.

backwoods conservative on February 7, 2009 at 5:39 PM

“He is a little bit naïve.”

?????????
He seems to have more money than sense.

davo on February 7, 2009 at 5:39 PM

The most interesting thing I took from this story is how concerned the Iraqi people were for his well being. They were honestly trying to dissuade him taking risks. Yes, the man was stupid, but it shows there are lots of good people out there.

Aggie85 on February 7, 2009 at 5:46 PM

The Iraqis there have more sense than libtard voyager and more compassion too. They may also have been trying to save Mr. Obama from an international incident. How would it look, young feckless democrat having head chopped off during first month of Mr. Obama’s Administration?

eaglewingz08 on February 7, 2009 at 5:52 PM

I wonder if he has visited Tijuana lately…….?

Seven Percent Solution on February 7, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Good news.

backwoods conservative on February 7, 2009 at 5:39 PM

It was beautiful to behold.

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 6:01 PM

It was beautiful to behold.

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 6:01 PM

Which thread was it?

backwoods conservative on February 7, 2009 at 6:12 PM

“I wonder if he has visited Tijuana lately…….?”

At least the guy found some honest cops in Falluja who were concerned about his safety.

GarandFan on February 7, 2009 at 6:21 PM

Glad to hear the Iraqi military and police are maintaining some sense of sanity in that area since the Marines handed it over to them.

Hog Wild on February 7, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Which thread was it?

backwoods conservative on February 7, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Report: Palin to speak, Limbaugh to keynote at CPAC

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Not sure if it is wise to go there for vacation. That man was lucky he didn’t lose his head…….

sheebe on February 7, 2009 at 4:53 PM

So then what’s the difference between Fallujah and Chicago again?

TheEJS on February 7, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Probably no difference TheEJS…….. Thank you for making me laugh. I am sick today I needed that.

sheebe on February 7, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Allah whacked her with the banning stick.

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Must have been a bad comment then. Can’t say I am sorry to see her go. One must do what they have to do.

sheebe on February 7, 2009 at 7:21 PM

I dunno….I kinda admire his chutzpah. =)

In 2006 during the Israel-Lebanon war, I picked myself up and flew to Israel and volunteered up north with organizations helping out. I’m not Jewish, my friends and family thought I was totally nuts, as did many Israelis I talked to.

I didn’t care. I just wanted to help out.

Of course, it doesn’t mean I would go and visit Fallujah today either but….I don’t mock people like this guy. Maybe he’s trying to make a point, or maybe he’s just a good guy who is naive. But I know what he must feel like being surrounded by lots of people telling him that he’s insane.

=)

Summer on February 7, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Report: Palin to speak, Limbaugh to keynote at CPAC

Disturb the Universe on February 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Got it. Thanks.

backwoods conservative on February 7, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Nick Berg had no comment.

I have one, in Italian:

Chi pecora si fa, il lupo se la mangia.

(Those who make themselves sheep will get eaten by wolves.)

profitsbeard on February 7, 2009 at 7:43 PM

If he wants to REALLY push his luck, he oughta try Detroit!

Tony737 on February 7, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Wasn’t their a teenage boy who made it to Iraq a couple of years ago to visit his dad?

Kevin in Southern Illinois on February 7, 2009 at 8:38 PM

Reminds me of that guy who went to live with, what was it, Grizzly Bears?… and ended up getting killed. You’d have to be a little touched in the head to do something like that.

4shoes on February 7, 2009 at 8:38 PM

I am sorry but God gave every one a brain
OK maybe not the democrats they Got trains
and they all wanted one with a whistle..

So if you received your brain from god

I suggest
YOU USE IT

MORONS

jcila on February 7, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Thats how Howard Dean’s brother died in Vietnam, He was a tourist & a stupid hippie.

borg on February 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Wow.

Big, shiny, clanging, brass balls.

Just wow.

wearyman on February 7, 2009 at 9:29 PM

The Iraqis there have more sense than libtard voyager and more compassion too. They may also have been trying to save Mr. Obama from an international incident. How would it look, young feckless democrat having head chopped off during first month of Mr. Obama’s Administration?

eaglewingz08 on February 7, 2009 at 5:52 PM

Did you read the article?

1. He was Italian.
2. Nowhere does it state he was a Democrat.

harry on February 7, 2009 at 9:47 PM

So then what’s the difference between Fallujah and Chicago again?

TheEJS on February 7, 2009 at 5:08 PM

In Fallujah you are allowed to defend yourself.

mcassill on February 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

Having done things not quite as dumb, but almost as dumb (and lived to tell the tale), I say salute!

Mr. Joe on February 7, 2009 at 10:12 PM

“I wonder if he has visited Tijuana lately…….?”

At least the guy found some honest cops in Falluja who were concerned about his safety.

GarandFan on February 7, 2009 at 6:21 PM

At least he didn’t wind up dead like the beautiful 36 year old pregnant woman who just got raped and murdered in Puerto Rico. I’m actually not shocked to hear that Fallujah is safer than Puerto Rico, and probably safer than many parts of Detroit (Limbaugh’s “new Fallujah”).

funky chicken on February 7, 2009 at 10:19 PM

He’s safer there than any big lib city’s bad part.

Mojave Mark on February 7, 2009 at 11:24 PM

I don’t wish harm on this guy, but it’s obvious he is intent on finding trouble.

Vegi on February 8, 2009 at 3:49 AM

HELL, OBUMMER IS THE PRESIDENT NOW… THE WORLD IS AS SAFE AS IT’S EVER BEEN….. GUMDROPS ARE FALLING ON FALLUJA AS WELL!!

build the wall on February 8, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Was he in a tuxedo looking for his fiancée?

Or did he want to emphasize Fabrizio Quattrocchi’s point?

tommylotto on February 8, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Dr. G – Medical Examiner is quoted in US News and World Report this month saying, “there are only 5 categories for cause of death, but I think their should be 6. Stupid should be the sixth category.”

JAM on February 8, 2009 at 11:37 AM

What happened, was north korea closed on the weekend?

Defector01 on February 7, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Heh worth repeating

entagor on February 8, 2009 at 12:55 PM

This story reminds me of that masochist who put out an ad that he wanted to be eaten and loandbehold it was answered by a cannibal and goshdarnit he got his wish.

lizzee on February 8, 2009 at 1:00 PM

He isn’t crazy… he should have done more research. I was a tourist in Lebanon and had a great time and a family even got me into the south which was under occupation and constant air attack. A few years later when I was studying in Israel I worked for a month on a kibbutz up the north part of the country. I am part of a small group of people who have been bombarded by both sides.

Travel is great. More people should visit these countries. They are fantastic hosts in the Middle East despite the bad press resulting from terrorism.

lexhamfox on February 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Its like Woody Allen back-packing across Nazi Germany in 1942. Good luck with that $hit…

Claypigeon on February 8, 2009 at 5:56 PM