To the annoyance of my parents, I am here in Afghanistan once again.
I arrived in Kabul two weeks ago and am hoping to stay a month or two, continuing work on a couple of projects and making myself available for assignments. (Hint, hint. Hello? Hello?! Anybody???)
A friend and colleague has graciously offered to put me up in her house for awhile--and I finally know how to give people directions on how to get here. One of Kabul's many challenges is the lack of actual street names, let alone house numbers. Some streets are so famous that everybody knows them, like Flower Street, which is a well-known street full of shops. Some streets have mysterious names, like Toilet Street. Others are simply called Line 5 or Line 8 (although many Afghans don't seem to know these streets), with one unnumbered door in the wall following another.
Still other streets are known only by their landmarks, like mosques, bazaars, stores or restaurants. I can't post my exact location on the Internet, so I'll just say that my street is unofficially known by the name of a restaurant serving a popular fried food. I feel like laughing every time I have to give people directions but hey, whatever gets me here.
I've gotten a couple of assignments, which I'll share later. Until then, I'll wow you with a few images from my daily existence here...
This is an Afghan dish called palaw, which I call "lunch", served nearly every day where I am staying. The dish is a giant plate of meaty rice cooked in meat juices (often lamb) with some kind of stew to eat with each spoonful. I always get a portion of yogurt, which I never touch. The bread is actually very good and fresh from the bakery everyday.
Walls, razor wire, fences: the view from the second-story balcony. Oh, yeah--by the way, this is pretty typical of the weather we've been having. Rainy, chilly, muddy...
...which is why I am thankful for the wood stove in my room. My friend Taimani (the dog) loves it too.