"NO PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ALLOWED!" - Inside a comic con in the Middle East
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Just got back to US from travels in Iraq. (Kurdistan area so basically Northern Iraq although not Mosul nor Kirkuk as ISIS, known as DASH in Arabic, is problematic there). I'd be more than happy to discuss my travels here if anyone might be interested. Never made it to the one and only comic store in Iraq in the city of Erbil, cause, well, I was in Erbil and it's a pretty damn cool place and there was way too much to see.

But....

Wife and friends and I stayed over in Dubai (we have both visted Dubai before) on way back and she slept why I explored the old section of Dubai looking for an Arabic version of a Seiko dive watch (I also collect Seiko dive watches). On the way back to hotel I noticed The MIddle East Comic Con going on at Dubai's World Trade Center expo area so I swung in.

It was a monumental waste of about 40$, but hey, I can give a accurate report now. It was pretty big, not SDCC crowds but I'd say a couple thousand people on a Saturday at noon. Signs everywhere saying NO PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ALLOWED!

Anyways, in reality, it was what was is to come here at cons, I think: No back issues anywhere. I really made a point to find back issue sellers. The dude from Shazam was there (Zack whatever) and folks were losing their minds. I searched and search and finally found 3 tiny booths selling back issues. The guy I talked to most wore a suit with super heros on it. If he's a member here and reads this I'm the guy from LA and enjoyed speaking with you. He had some CGC books. I believe there was a DNK #1 9.6 for about $380.00. He had a CBCS HOS #92 for $1,400.00 and a GSX #1 raw he graded at 8.0 for about 4 grand. He called the convention "absolute rubbish" and said there was probably about 7 people in the thousands there that could speak of why Avengers #4 would be collectable. (He had one). He said the "Emirates Boys" (Local folk) would come with fists full of money and not know what was what (back issue wise) and would walk away when an explanation was given, bored. He rolled his eyes over the "star appearance" of Shazam Zack as "nobody knew or cared who he was yesterday." There was one other seller there known as Speedy Comics who had a shop somewhere in Dubai if I remember correctly. I would have bought a book or two from him but my luggage was so full of Kurdish rugs and what not I wasn't about to buy a collectable book book and carry it 17 hours on a flight home.

So I made my way to Speedy Comics booth which I'd say was small to medium in size. They had some books (CGC and raw, not many mind you). I was also too lazy to constantly do a Dirham (Arab Emirate currency) to a US dollar conversion on my phone to see what stuff cost. It was my understanding that Speedy Comics had paid for Bob Layton to be at their booth. And he was, sitting with someone not selling anything nor any signs of interest that he was there. He had OA and there was a signing fee but again I was too lazy to see what it cost in US dollars. As I stood there looking at his stuff I could hear him say to the man sitting next to him, "I don't understand why everyone hates all things Muslim." (You mean Islamic?) I wandered off and wondered how tough it was to cosplay (plenty of that there) whilst wearing a burka but the ladies did! Princess Lea over a burka, She-Hulk over a burka and lastly NO PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ALLOWED!

I never did find any cool Seiko Arabic issued dive watches. 

Your humble reporter signing off, (sarcasm approaching!) glad to be back in the safety of the good old USA where everyone has an automatic gun, not just bands of unruly thugs.

EDIT: before trouble starts: Dubai is a very international city. Not all women there are (orthodox) muslim. Duh! Also the safety of USA vs other parts of the world is just a personal observation as US citizen  who has traveled  extensively. Robert Pelton Young, author of The World's Most Dangerous places agrees. Of course it's just an opinion. 

Edited by NoMan

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At least you got some rugs NoMan :)

As for the signs, public displays of affection are rare at the London Comic Fair so that type of direction isn't needed. Perhaps the signs we do have give a clue as to why:

IN THE NAME OF GOD WASH BEFORE YOU COME HERE!

 

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1 hour ago, Get Marwood & I said:

At least you got some rugs NoMan :)

As for the signs, public displays of affection are rare at the London Comic Fair so that type of direction isn't needed. Perhaps the signs we do have give a clue as to why:

IN THE NAME OF GOD WASH BEFORE YOU COME HERE!

 

Interesting. Having to wash before going inside a convention, like at the entrance to every mosque has a wash area (for feet) before entering.

Did you know that every mosque in Iraq has bathrooms for public use (squatty potty only)? Although women must be accompanied by men.

Edited by NoMan

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Honestly, PDAs are just annoying anywhere. I'm not saying don't hold hands, or don't put your arms around each other, or don't kiss anyone. I'm not the fun police. However...

I recently attended the funeral for one of my cousins, and my younger brother and his girlfriend were like embracing each other and being really... Annoying... Especially for a funeral event.

People need to stop making out and making situations awkward in public. It's kinda par for the course in high school, but after that, knock it off!

Interesting story. Thanks for sharing.

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5 minutes ago, NoMan said:

Interesting. Having to wash before going inside a convention, like at the entrance to every mosque has a wash area (for feet) before entering.

We could do with two wash areas for the London Con - one marked 'armpit' and the other 'arse'

5 minutes ago, NoMan said:

Did you know that every mosque in Iraq has bathrooms for public use (squatty potty only)? Although women must be accompanied by men.

Men that they know?

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1 hour ago, Get Marwood & I said:

We could do with two wash areas for the London Con - one marked 'armpit' and the other 'arse'

Men that they know?

Don't really know the answer to that one. Sorry. I was asking so many questions to our driver and our interpreter I began trying to limit it. 

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1 hour ago, TwoPiece said:

Honestly, PDAs are just annoying anywhere. I'm not saying don't hold hands, or don't put your arms around each other, or don't kiss anyone. I'm not the fun police. However...

I recently attended the funeral for one of my cousins, and my younger brother and his girlfriend were like embracing each other and being really... Annoying... Especially for a funeral event.

People need to stop making out and making situations awkward in public. It's kinda par for the course in high school, but after that, knock it off!

Interesting story. Thanks for sharing.

They are saying to not hold hands nor put arms around one another. Often in Kurdish and Arabic culture no one knows you're dating or falling in love or even know one another until a marriage  is announced.

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1 minute ago, NoMan said:

They are saying to not hold hands nor put arms around one another. Often in Kurdish and Arabic culture no one knows you're dating or falling in love or even know one another until a marriage  is announced.

I empathize with them.

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10 minutes ago, NoMan said:

Don't really know the answer to that one. Sorry. I was asking so many questions to our driver and our interpreter I began trying to limit it. 

Did you take any pictures? I have images in my head, probably wildly inaccurate

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I wonder if Speedy Comics is the same Speedy that used to post here?   I miss his posts.  Did you take any pics?

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No, I don't really carry a camera or take photos with phone while traveling. I'm too busy in the moment and carrying a camera anywhere (I've got a Leica M3 and M6 - did I mention I collect Leica Cameras, also) puts you in danger and suspicion on many, many levels. 

Pictures at a comic con is fine, pointing a camera (or even having a camera) at the Iranian boarder in Northern Iraq will get you shot or grabbed by Iran's "Boarder Rapid Response" team. See the book, A Sliver of Light. I was at same boarder town those guys were at and it was explained to me to be very, very careful and to follow all directions given to me by driver. 

Edited by NoMan

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17 minutes ago, NoMan said:

No, I don't really carry a camera or take photos with phone while traveling. I'm too busy in the moment and carrying a camera anywhere (I've got a Leica M3 and M6 - did I mention I collect Leica Cameras, also) puts you in danger and suspicion on many, many levels. 

Pictures at a comic con is fine, pointing a camera at the Iranian boarder will get you shot or grabbed by Iran's "Boarder Rapid Response" team. See the book, A Sliver of Light. I was at same boarder town those guys were at and it was explained to me to be very, very careful and to follow all directions given to me by driver. 

Ah yes, good ol' Middle East where simply carrying a camera around will put your life in danger. So much better than the nasty U.S.A.  ;)

Cool trip report, though. I'd like to visit Iraq someday. The ancient civilization ruins there must be pretty incredible to walk among.  The only reason I'd like to go to Dubai is to see the tallest building in the world.

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1 hour ago, speedcake said:

Ah yes, good ol' Middle East where simply carrying a camera around will put your life in danger. So much better than the nasty U.S.A.  ;)

Cool trip report, though. I'd like to visit Iraq someday. The ancient civilization ruins there must be pretty incredible to walk among.  The only reason I'd like to go to Dubai is to see the tallest building in the world.

I've had my life threatened taking street photos in Los Angeles USA. :wink: Hang around 5th and Main in downtown LA long enough and.....

We did that tall building. It was ok. Taller building being built there now. 

Edited by NoMan

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yeah it won't be the tallest for long, which is incredible to think about. We are about to have a kilometer tall building. that's just wild.

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1 hour ago, newshane said:

Dubai is terrible. I've read too many stories about tourists ending up in jail over the slightest offense. They arrested a British Woman when she landed because she had alcohol on her breath from the flight. She ended up staying in jail for several days before they got it figured out. Another was arrested when she landed because she had called her ex-husband a "horse" over social media. 

I can't imagine feeling at ease in such a place, where holding hands with your wife could land you in jail, or worse. 

There are far too many other gorgeous, historic, and enjoyable places to visit. I will never step foot in the middle east, especially Dubai or Saudi Arabia. Travel there at your own risk. 

 

 

You're speaking of Dubai? 

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Just now, NoMan said:

You're speaking of Dubai? 

Yes. 

 

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1 hour ago, newshane said:

Yes. 

 

I don't/didn't see what you speak of. Dubai is amazing. 

Edited by NoMan

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Follow the link below for one of a million different stories about weird stuff that can land you in jail over there. 

Doesn't sound like I am pious enough to even look at airplane tickets. 

To each their own. I'm sure it's a great place but...not for me. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/06/british-tourist-faces-jail-in-dubai-after-brushing-against-man-in-bar

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Here is yet another headline from CNN:

A British tourist has been arrested in Dubai on charges of extramarital sex after telling police a group of British nationals raped her in the United Arab Emirates, according to a UK-based legal advice group called Detained in Dubai.

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