Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lake Qarghur

Lake Qargur is just outside Kabul - a manmade lake that is a favorite picnic spot for the locals when it's warm. When we went in late February it was coldish and drizzly. And we were the only visitors.

Here's the entrance.

and the litter. But as I remind myself: Afghanistan has many more important issues to worry about than litter. Still...

The lake...
the swanboats.

The reflection of the clouds made the lake look smoky.

Working...

Walking....And keeping a watch over it all... It was lovely.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The refrigerator

in the faculty lounge was 'gharob' again this morning. Which means 'broken.' After 'taskakor' for thank you, 'gharob' is the second most useful word here in broken Afghanistan.

The custodian, who speaks about as much English as I speak Dari, nodded and seemed to commiserate with me about my coffee with the curdled milk. Nodded and nodded and then with a rueful smile said in English - 'It is Afghanistan' by way of explanation.

But it's spring and the cherry trees are blooming.






New rose buses are being planted.

And I'm going to India tomorrow for a week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

threat

Here's what we got yesterday from 'those that know.'

"Good morning,

Please be advised that Security Reports indicate that PARWAN based insurgents intend to conduct rocket attacks on Afghan New Year's Day (21 Mar 10) targeting the SHAR-E NOW area of central KABUL city, Wazir Akbar Khan (WAK), the POL-E CHARKHI area of eastern KABUL city and BAGRAM Airport (possibly also KABUL Airport). The rockets will reportedly be fired from the KOH-E SAFI District of PARWAN. This reports are confirmed however this department recommends no travel to these areas over the up and coming weekend.

Regards",


And this from our campus security:

"Restrictions on movement into the city are now in place,
Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated."

Rockets to celebrate the new year. It sucks.

Spring break starts this week and some of us are leaving town. I understand they're hiring a submarine to transport us to the airport.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rock concert

Last week the Music Club held a rock concert at the University.
It was to benefit one of the local 'camps' - tent cities of displaced people from the provinces. First on the agenda was traditional music -


And traditional dancing by the young men.

Attan dancing.

The young women sat and watched.

I asked one of the female students who I see hanging out and talking with male students on campus "why don't you get up and dance?" "The boys will think differently of me," she said.
Dancing, of course, means moving your body. Sexual!
I've been told that women will dance with men at, say, a wedding where all the men are close relatives. Or they will dance in the same room with men if there's a curtain between the sexes. I'm sad for how much fun they all are missing.

Then came the rock band.

Kabul Dreams - a local group.The dancing morphed into jumping up and down...by the young men.

The young women sat and watched.

I had a good time. It's a shame western men don't do more dancing with one another -- it's a sight to behold and certainly makes my heart beat faster.

The campus that night.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

children of Kabul

Walking the street outside the guesthouse.


This little girl was charming the pants off our escort and the other men in the van. She finally got in the van, making herself to home. We all had to give her money.
Story is that these young beggars have someone who's 'working' them and a portion of the money they get goes to these 'pimps.' Some of us when we see the beggar children at the vegetable/fruit stands on the street will buy them fruit, rather than give them money. Then it's theirs. What a mess.
Here's another cutey-pie - but begging.

This little girl followed the car for several blocks, perhaps offering to clean his windscreen. He wasn't interested.
I didn't understand the word 'begging' until I came here. It isn't just asking one time, or a second time, or a third time...it's begging - asking over and over and over again until finally...or you just ignore the situation entirely.


This child and his mom stood outside one of the grocery stores frequented by the foreigners (me) on the weekends.


This young man was selling a local 'what's happening guide' which is given away - for free - in the shops. Enterprising!



He's picking up trash (recycling?) along Lake Qurghur, just outside Kabul.


Hanging out.

I'm not sure what's going on here, but little brother is clearly following big brother.
These two children were outside a displaced persons camp. Many are from Helmand Province in the south, moving here to escape the Taliban. Some have been here for years. They live in tents.
The people are considered 'internally displaced' - not refugees from another country. Since they're not refugees, the United Nations isn't 'responsible' for them. They're Afghanistan's problem and Afghanistan and President Karzai are doing nothing.
The escort said the little girl wanted us to take her with us.

And here's trouble brewing!
and here.


A lot of waiting around goes on in this country - even among the young.





My kite seller.


I think they're playing the local game similar to marbles.


Something's going on here. Unusual because a girl is involved!

Kite flying.


They're on a mission of some sort.



These young girls are oblivious to the shopkeeper's leer.

Selling ice cream, maybe?

Pals.

Sister chasing little brother.



Waiting.