Afghanistan Diary
Saturday, February 12, 2005
  Driving lessons in Kabul

Like many people who learn how to drive in America, I only know how to drive a car with automatic transmission. Here, all cars have manual transmission and today I had my first driving lesson. We started going back and forth in the back streets adjacent to the house. Naturally, the whole driving lesson did not go unnoticed in the neighborhood, and kids and adults alike were watching the whole scene, amused. Then we decided to follow a path we had never taken before to see where it would lead us, and this was not, I emphasize not, the thing to do. The “path” quickly disintegrated into an accumulation of ice and mud forming a highly irregular terrain with half-erased car tracks over it. Things were getting worse as it progressed and more than once, I thought the car was going to tip over, but the real miracle is that we didn’t get stuck in one of the many mud holes.

Later I actually drove in town. Kabul is not exactly the easiest place to learn how to drive. Besides the chaos, there are immense potholes, giant ice blocks, poorly designed street bumps, an undetermined number of lanes, and naturally the prevailing traffic code (which is basically a local variation of the law of the jungle). I stalled six times in front of a bus, and at least once (let’s not sell myself so short, it was probably two or three times), in the middle of a busy roundabout. somehow, I made it though.

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

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Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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