Afghanistan Diary
Thursday, February 24, 2005
  Spring is coming

The weather is definitely warming up. Spring is coming. At last! The snow is melting in our garden revealing the lovely sight of piles of dirt and heaps of garbage (there is naturally no garbage collection in Kabul. We have been waiting for somebody to pick up the trash and bring it to the dump for a while now). The snow melting on dirt roads is creating mud all over town, making it harder to walk or drive. But roads are terrible anyway. An amusing detail is that I know of no city where there are more speed bumps than Kabul, and yet, I know of no place where they are less needed: between the potholes, the mud, the improvised garbage dumps and the ditch that serves as a gutter, it is impossible to go fast. Cars do take a beating here, and the fact that some Soviet-era Skoda are still in use speaks volume about the talents of afghans mechanics.


Today, instead of going to Dacaar’s cafetaria, I went to an expat restaurant (Flower Street Café). A rather pleasant place, though nothing fancy. There we ate very good sandwiches. On the way back to work, we stopped at a small afghan shop to buy some cookies that were amazingly cheap. We calculated that for the price of one sandwich, we could have bought 9Kg of cookies. Nine kilos! The disparity in wealth in this country is unbelievable.
In the evening, we went to a party (Thursday night is the big night out, since everybody is off on Friday). Getting there was actually more interesting than the party itself. Every car was following another car, although nobody knew where to go. The roads were pretty bad and we got stuck in the mud. It was an NGO party again, this time hosted by a French organization. Clearly, they were not geared for the number of people who showed up, and shortly after we came, they only let people in if there were on the guest list. I had rsvp’ed, without having ever been invited. Anyway, it was nothing special, crowd of people packed in a room in the basement, dancing, drinking or smoking hash. Alcohol was in short supply and the party was rather dull really, but I had a good time talking with my friends nonetheless.
I have been told today that I look strikingly like a Serbian actor. Some time ago, it was an Afghan pop star. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that I must have a very common face.


There are aspects of our life here that are reminiscent of college life. We live in a shared house, meet only single people who are roughly our age (none of whom have kids), and go to parties every weeks (or for some people, who shall remain nameless, every day).

 
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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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