Afghanistan Diary
Thursday, January 27, 2005
  D Day + 1 stuck in Istanbul
My entire itinerary was Albuquerque-Chicago-Paris-Istanbul-Baku-Kabul over 48 hours. I made all the connection to Istanbul only to learn that the plane to Kabul was cancelled due to bad weather. Weather permitting I was to leave the next day. I suppose that there are worse things in life than to have to spend a day in Istanbul.

I did something I would never have done had I not an insanely heavy bag with me: I went to the hotel reservation desk in the airport and booked myself a room in an expensive ($50) hotel. But by that time beads of sweat were dripping from my forehead into the floor and I had already been travelling for more than 24 hours. All I wanted was a bed and a hot shower whatever the cost.

I used to live in Istanbul ten years ago and hadn’t been back since.

Inflation has been terrible: the highest banknote in circulation ten years ago does not even pay for a bus ticket today.

To my disappointment my Turkish seem to have almost entirely vanished.

After taking a shower I went for a walk. I meant to walk to Sulthan Ahmet, then Gulhane park and then to Eminonu. Instead, I walked the wrong direction and I ended up in Aksaray. That neighbourhood sure hasn’t changed much in ten years. Still the same street sellers of Chinese knock-offs, and the same “natachas” (Eastern European sex-workers). I got to Sultan Ahmet in the end but exhaustion caught up with me (I had barely slept the night before) and after sending some emails from a internet café (they are everywhere) I felt asleep.

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This is my diary. My name is Lev and I work in Kabul for a non-governmental organization (

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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