Saturday, May 05, 2007

Having fun in Kabul...

[I tried to add some pictures to the blog but the internet is too slow upload pictures.]

Yesterday was Friday which is a holiday here. Here the weekend is half of Thursday and all of Friday. I went with my cousins to Paghman which is 20 miles north of Kabul. It was good to see my cousins and their children who are SO cute. Unfortunately one of my cousins, Hasina, had severe burns on her foot. Her husband lit a lantern indoors and when he didn’t see a flame he added more fuel without turning it off. The lantern exploded and Hasina’s pants caught on fire as did their rug and cushions. Both she and her husband have severe burns on their feet. Luckily their children were not around! Poor woman can barely walk and she also suffers from Rheumatoid arthritis and she’s only about 35 years old.

Anyway….So yesterday the cousins came over and we ate some lunch and headed to Paghman. We took two cars. I went in Malahat’s van and sat with her and two of her kids while another sat in between the driver and passenger seats. On the way out of Kabul my uncle stopped and gave some money to a few of the women that were sitting on the side of the street. They sat there with dirty torn burqas, hands outstretched, some with children by their side. One child almost got hit crossing the street to get money from us. Luckily the taxi driver saw her and stopped! We also passed some UNICEF tents that are used for school. As soon as we exited Kabul it was beautiful and peaceful. Everything is green and the streams are full due to the rains this year. As we drove toward Paghman we saw lots of people picnicking in various places, hanging out and relaxing. On the left side of the road there was a little sheesha stop. Men sat in the shade puffing on sheesha. My cousin said she tried it once and really liked it. It tasted like apple but made her head dizzy so that she couldn’t stand up. I wondered if it was straight tobacco or was laced with something else. After she tried it she told her cousin to try it and then told her to get her some tea. Her cousin stood up and sat right back down from being dizzy!

The road was full from people driving out of town. Most of them were heading to Qargha which has a lake and some food stands. I could see some men swimming in the lake and having fun. We continued on and reached Paghman which is a small town. It’s most noticeable feature is an Arc de Triomphe knock-off built by King Amanullah in the 1930s after he returned from Europe. We stopped to take some pictures and continued another 5-10 minutes out of town where we reached a beautiful river. Lots of people were picnicking there and the mountains were beautiful. It was quite a task keeping track of all the little children climbing rocks, wanting to jump in the river. We walked around past some kids playing soccer, up the hill. There was a small mud house with a woman peering through the window. According to Malahat, the woman was making sure that we would not pick her fruit (as Malahat did this last time and the woman came running after her!).

We took some pictures near the river and my cousin’s husband told me to take my scarf off because it wasn’t necessary here. It was interesting…I was on one side of the river without any scarf, and on the other side were 3 or 4 women completely covered with a black chaudori (a giant full body scarf).

Later in the evening the men went and bought some beers, kababs, and a warped soccer ball that we played volleyball with. I don’t think I’ve played volleyball since middle school and forgot how much it hurts my arms! Ouch! The men, warmed by their beers, wanted to stay all night but the women started to lose their patience as their children were getting cold, so we packed up and headed home. Before reaching Paghman we stopped again to look at a mosque and statue Amanullah Khan had built that was still standing. An old man explained to us that the symbols on the statue celebrated education. We walked around the inside of the mosque a bit and headed home.

We took a different road home which was bumpy and full of whole. By the time I got home I was exhausted and went straight to bed.


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