Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hello, is it me you're looking for?

I threw in the Lionel Richie song because both OMG and PFR sent me emails with variations of the above song in the subject line.

I'm in Kabul, it was a nice trip back. I wrote a long detailed email about what I did yesterday and so now I don't feel like re-writing it.

Thursday afternoon: Arrived in Kabul, no drama b/c my Khala called her nephew and he ushered me through the airport.

Thursday evening: Family came to visit. Lots of fun.

Friday: Slept until 11 am (after a long night of sporadic sleep). Went to brunch/lunch, then to watch Buzkashi.* It was fun, especially the part where the horses would come rushing through the crowd. Well, more of an adrenalin rush than anything but still fun.

I usually try to avoid big groups of Afghan males. When I was here three years ago, it was unheard of for a female to come to sporting matches and etc. I went anyway and it was fine. Everyone was busy watching the buzkashi match and there were plenty of foreigners (one guy was even participating in the match!), so no one bothered us.

I was a little uncomfortable at the end, when waiting for our friends' car to come pick them up. Their car was late, and young, adolescent males started to surround them. I started to freak out, though they were admirably calm. Nothing happened and I didn’t have a chance to find out how they felt about it.

Then we went to Nader Shah Tapa (Tapa Maranjan), where the former king's mausoleum is and Afghans, mostly men, fly kites. We ate popcorn while one member of our party went through 7 kites. No one bothered us until we (5 girls and 1 guy) went to the mausoleum part. I noticed men starting to congregate. I got nervous and we hightailed it out of there to the open space. We rejoined our friend who was still flying his kites.

I’ve decided that if local Afghan men have other entertainment, they are fine and don’t bother women. But if they have nothing else to do, then women become the entertainment.

Then, we had an early dinner at the Lebanese restaurant. And then I went to visit another family member where I had dinner again.

*We can discuss Buzkashi and Kite-fighting some other time. I have read many articles about how violent it is and how it demonstrates how violent of a people we are...but I don't necessarily agree.

14 comments:

Chaoyang said...

Glad to hear you're safely and unincidentally back home and enjoying such exciting outings. what type of horses are they? are they short? (is the top of the horse's head taller than your's?)

I'm having temporary connectivity issues in Chaoyang - so pls forgive unexplained lapses in my comments.

the foreigner participating in the match - where was he from and how could you tell he was a foreigner? I think alot of Afghans look Western - blond hair and blue eyed."

Q. A. Shah said...

welcom back. where were the buzkashi match? I was hoping to catch one while here.

omg said...

Haha! Love the entry title. Makes me feel special. And whoever PFR is, he/she rocks.

I'm glad you were able to see the buzkashi and the kite flying. Whatever people think about them, it's a matter of experiencing the culture. (When we do discuss the kite fighting, I'll point out that there is/was a similar practice in Cuba, using razor blades.)

I suppose that in the U.S. there are situations where groups of men are likely to ogle and advance on women, too, but I can't imagine living with it to the point that I start to feel uncomfortable or worried for my safety. Then again, I'm super cautious so I guess I don't put myself in those situations. I'm intrigued by the idea and the implications of this part of life in AFG...

Glad you're safe and sound. (Well, the sound part is still to be determined. ;-)

homeinkabul said...

C: The horses were beautiful and very big. Much taller than me. i knew he was a foreigner b/c I knew him.

Q: I'll let you know next time. I just heard about it on Friday morning...

O: PFR is pushy former room-mate (she gave herself that nickname), you know her. Well, I was thinking about the U.S. and there was a parade in NY where the men basically molested (maybe even raped) a girl. It was really scary to watch on the news.

K-Oh said...

I would love to see buzkashi, but I never seem to be playing when I'm there. I think now that I'm coming back in June-- but that's not buzkashi season either, is it?

K-Oh said...

Well, of course, I meant THEY are never playing when I'm there.

SuperfluousA said...

I'm waiting for a picture of the bust of your head made by your blind crush. Where is it?

The NYC happening you mentioned was during the Puerto Rican Day Parade a few years ago. I don't know if there was a rape, but a lot of women were grabbed and assaulted, and from what I remember that the police did nothing when women complained.

Your perceptions about the male/female interactions in Afghanistan is something that is true for the whole world, though sometimes less obvious.

Other than that, glad to hear you had a safe journey back. And in the immortal words of Tupac -- keep ya head up.

homeinkabul said...

K: Someone told me that buzkashi is in the winter so people can wear more layers (and it protects them from the rough buzkashi play). If it's on, i'll definitely let you know...

S: I only remember a newscast of a man trying to protect his girlfriend and crying, while a mob of men were reaching out and touching the woman. It was upsetting to watch.

I mock you for quoting tupac.

It totally took me a moment to figure out what you were talking about with the blind crush and all. But I remember now. And she had his jerry curls sculpted so nicely in that bust.

pfr said...

Yay! Glad to hear you had a safe trip back and thanks for the shout out. Good old Lionel had a concert in town this past friday. If you were here we would have had to go. I know you know all the words to his songs thanks to star 94.

omg said...

"Penny lover..."

K-Oh said...

Hey, HIK-- I'd love to know more about MMOC-- sounds like a group I'd like to write an article about on my next trip over. If you know anyone there, could you email me and tell me about them? I'm at kohlson@en.com

homeinkabul said...

pfr & O: It's actually b/c of 98.5 (Delillllaaahhh). and i totally do know the words of his songs (but not penny lover!)

K-oh, sending email now

omg said...

Delilah!? Ugh! Shoot me now.

Elizabeth said...

I don't think buzkashi is violent. The sheep is dead but you can't expect them to play it with a live sheep, can you? And what's the difference between playing with a whole sheep or a sheepskin ball like in American football?

Have you ever seen a man hit another or another man's horse in buzkashi? It's rough but not violent.