Friday, July 14, 2006

City Jaunt

I went for a walk this morning in the city and it was nice. Our servant, M, advised me against it. I was so irritated that I commented on E’s blog about this and didn’t see the response until after I came back from my jaunt. I can’t live in this city if I can’t even walk out by myself during the day. I called H, a family friend, and he said not to worry about it, to go ahead.

So, I did. It was no big deal but I was nervous. I covered my face when I saw groups of Afghan men but most didn’t say anything. I walked around for about an hour and a half. I bought nail polish remover, some chocolate and breakfast stuff (Nutella!) and looked around for pantyhose and thin scarves…

I stuffed a number of ten afghanis in my pocket and I slipped it to beggars, when asked. You have to do it quickly and walk away or dirty hands that grab at your sleeves and murmur, ‘please please’ surround you. It’s not a pleasant experience.

I dropped some money on the ground and a man yelled “Khala, Khala” I ignored him but he was persistent, when I finally turned around, he handed me my 20 Afghani bill. I thanked him and gave it to an elderly lady who was begging and told her that the khairat (charity) was from him.

Security is so hard to gauge here. I panic when reading the security notices from the government or listen to friends who only travel by car and then get frustrated with my caution when I see local women walking around in shorter shirts than I would ever dare wear outside (their clothes are still conservative.). I can’t live my life in hiding. I don’t go out too late at night; I stick with people I know well, but I can’t, just can’t live a life where I can’t walk around. Well, I can – I don’t want to.


chad hunt said...

I will be traveling to kabul on sept 2nd to be embedded with the us military as a journalist (photographer)
I am looking for any advice you have to offer about the city, do's and dont's, etc.

I also need a place to stay on sept 2nd before i check in with the military and after my time with the military before i go home...
. any thoughts on good hotels?

i will also need to hire a driver to to pick me up from the airport and take me to the hotel, then to camp eggers in Kabul the next day, then to Bagrum airbase.
any thoughts on that?
thank you for your help

chad hunt

homeinkabul said...

Hi Chad,

I think I had responded to you or someone else who is also going to be embedded in the army a few months ago. I can't give you too much information about the army, as I don't work in that field, but here are some useful links: - 'survival guide' on Kabul - driver

Don't wear shorts. Try the Mustafa Hotel - I remember some friends staying there in the past. I think Mustafa Hotel has a website. Youc an get other hotel info from the survival guide in Kabul

omg said...

I understand not wanting to live in a place where you don't feel free or safe to move about freely, to do the things you want to do. And there must be the temptation to "just do it." But hopefully the work you are doing there will help to improve the situation so that it's safer for everyone.

homeinkabul said...

CH: Check out my latest post.

O: I hope so, it is hard sometimes but generally pretty satisfying to be here. It just takes a while to settle.

Anonymous said...

Interesting website with a lot of resources and detailed explanations.