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.

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 (

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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