--------------------------------------------------------------* This isn’t comprehensive but more of a ‘wish someone had told me’ list. Afghanistan is a fun country, full of warm and hospitable people. If you go with the right attitude, you’ll not only learn a lot, you’ll get to know a beautiful culture. Have fun!!!
I. Traveling to and from Kabul
i. Ariana Airlines weight luggage limit is very low. Be prepared to pay.
i. Your flight will land in Terminal 1 and you will have to get to Terminal 2 to get to your Ariana flight. If you pick up your luggage, which I personally recommend, you’ll have to take a taxi. I recommend getting to the Ariana gate early. I’ve heard that they leave early sometimes (mine didn’t). Be assertive. ☺
c. Kabul Airport
i. There is a departure fee of 500 Afs. Make sure you get a receipt.
i. Men should not wear short outside of the practice area.
ii. Women should NEVER wear shorts.
iii. Women & men should err on the side of caution and dress more conservatively.
iv. The physical discomfort, if any, will be outweighed by the hospitality of the people (who will feel more comfortable inviting you to their homes if you respect their culture).
v. Women: I like to wear long pants, long shirt (which covers my butt) with long sleeves. There are nice embroidered shirts in Afghanistan that are made out of cotton and are quite comfortable. I also cover my hair with a traditional scarf.
vi. When taking a walk in Kabul, I try to blend in. The situation matters here.
i. No thumbs up
ii. If you’re sitting on the floor, don’t point the soles of your feet towards anyone.
iii. Apologize if you have your back to someone
1. Hint: They will probably say, “A rose has no front or back.” You can reply, “Neither does a potato.” Enjoy the shared laughter.
iv. No Pointing
v. No Beckoning with one finger
vi. Stand up when an older person comes in. I generally stand up for everyone, it makes them happy.
vii. Don’t shake hands with the opposite gender unless they make the first movement.
i. Don’t call any new acquaintance by their first name without a ‘jan’ at the end.
III. Useful links
a. http://www.kabulguide.net/ - Survival Guide to Kabul. I strongly recommend you visit this site!
***I would also suggest learning one or two words in Dari, such as Salam (Hello) and Tashakura (Thank you)