National Geographic : 2011 Jul
BACK TO LIFE Baghdad's relative calm has lent sparkle to the city's social scene---especially for the wealthy. At the glitzy new Lebanese Club overlooking the Tigris (top left), patrons must check any weapons at the door before enjoying nonalcoholic drinks on the terrace. Bikers rev their engines in Al Jadriyah Lake Park (bottom left). And young couples feel safe enough to plan for the future. Big weddings costing up to $10,000 have become more common. Some 300 guests celebrated for two days when bride Heelan Muhammad, 23, married Husham Raad, 30, last October. They are saving for a house. Daily life isn't always easy, says 24-year-old Raad Ezat- Khalil (with baby), the groom's cousin and matchmaker, but "the most important thing is how strong and determined people are."