Afghanistan Diary
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
  Sense of direction (or lack thereof)

I do not have the sense of direction. I mean, not at all. It is hard to convey how frustrating it is, humiliating even, especially, if you don’t like to rely on others people. According to my cousin, a psychology professor (who himself could not find his way out of a paper bag), there is a strong genetic component to the ability to orient oneself in space. I take this as meaning that I am screwed no matter how much I try.

From a fairly young age, I have taken the habit of carrying with me a map of the city I am in at all times. I also memorize how to get to places, but the fact that I know how to get somewhere, in no way implies that I will be able to retrace my steps later.

About five years ago, I found the ultimate device for retards such as myself: a gps. In case you don’t know, it is a navigation device, that indicates your position (calculated by satellite) relative to others points of interests and/or a map. I hesitated to bring a GPS with me when leaving for Afghanistan. At the last minute, I decided against it. “No need to be geekier than I need to, I’ll manage with a map,” I thought. What a mistake that was! For a start, street names (or house numbers for that matter) are never indicated, which makes a map pretty useless, should you get lost. On top of that, I met fellow geeks here, who use GPSes on a daily basis, which make me green with envy.

I decided buy myself a nice gps. One that works for hiking, cycling and for driving and gives turn by turn directions in the US and in Europe. However, the post being what it is, I couldn’t have it delivered here, instead I had it shipped to my friend Babak in Holland who will bring it when he comes back to Kabul. The whole process takes months.

 
Comments:
Ofcourse, that's hoping that your friend Babak indeed DOES get back to Kabul. :)
 
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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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