Back in Baghdad: Remember the Mode of the Commode

Photoessay: Clarissa's Travels

Back in Baghdad ... again.

For this trip, I have landed myself the master bedroom in the house. It is very luxurious with a double bed and its own bathroom. Like most bathrooms in the Middle East, you cannot flush toilet paper or you will cause some serious plumbing problems.

One of the most surreal side effects of living in this region and traveling so much in Europe and the U.S. is that, wherever I am, it always takes me a few minutes to remember if I can flush the paper or not. Another quirky feature of my bathroom is the bidet. I grew up in Europe, so I am used to bidets in bathrooms, but most Americans are baffled when they see one for the first time. Essentially, a bidet is a small basin next to the toilet, and is used to rinse oneself after using the bathroom. You see them a lot in Muslim countries as well, because people use them to clean themselves before praying.

I flew in from Amman, Jordan this afternoon. I hate flying. It¹s irrational and impractical, but the flight into Baghdad frightens me much more than the drive from the airport to our house. I told my mother a few years ago that I was developing a fear of flying; she told me that she was not interested in having a neurotic wimp for a daughter so I had better deal with it. Tough love, but it worked.

I still get sweaty palms and palpitations during take off, landing and turbulence, but now I recognize that I'm being ridiculous. I try to make myself laugh by thinking of how silly I look: a reporter who will happily trudge around a war zone, but who spends a short flight clinging desperately to the armrest of her seat, back slightly hunched over with eyes darting around the plane like a mad woman. It usually does the trick.

Clarissa Ward is a reporter based out of Beirut, Lebanon. She has reported for the FOX News Channel from Beirut and Baghdad, covering stories such as Saddam's execution and the current unrest in Lebanon.