It feels like I’ve been here forever but really it’s only been about three days. The journey to get here was long with the flight to Kabul from Dubai being especially rough. Planes flying into Kabul International Airport can’t make a linear descent onto the runway. Instead they circle the airport before landing to make the plane a harder target to hit. A bit terrifying to think about but I was too nauseous from the circling to focus on anything else.
|View of Kabul from the airplane.|
But my coworkers and I made it safely!
The guesthouse we are staying in is pretty nice, for Kabul. (That’s been my phrase since getting here – this is nice….for Kabul.) Really, it is much better than what I expected. The security here is tight. There are three guards we have to pass, a metal detector, and a maze of six doors we have to walk through before getting to the front door of the guesthouse! There is a lovely garden area, wi-fi, a gym, albeit prison-like it is a gym for all intents and purposes, and an indoor swimming pool that has no water (still figuring that one out).
|In the car on the way to the office.|
If I was melting on my last trip to Dallas, I am disintegrating rapidly in Kabul. It’s Ramadan right now which is a month of fasting for those who practice Islam. While here I am not required to fast but to be respectful, I am not to eat or drink in front of those that are. We’ve been having meetings with local staff and with the temperature around 93 to 97 degrees F, it is really, really hard not to drink water in front of them. Come to think of it, even if the temperature was 30 degrees F, it would still be hard not to any drink water. On Tuesday I felt like I was close to passing out. OK, maybe I am exaggerating but it’s extremely hot and I am dressed in long pants and a long shirt with a scarf around my head. Normally I would be thrilled about this weather but I feel suffocated almost. Suffocated and thirsty – an awful combination.
|View from the Inter-Continental Hotel|
Last night we were invited to Iftar, the evening meal to break the fast, at the Inter-Continental Hotel in West Kabul. The hotel was attacked in 2011 by suicide bombers in which 21 people died. Again kind of terrifying to think about but the hotel seemed much secure now and plus, I didn’t want any worry to get in the way of enjoying a lovely night out with coworkers. It was fun to take part in Iftar. The food was delicious! After having pasta and quesadillas at expat restaurants, I really wanted to have some local cuisine.
This weekend we are hoping to do some shopping. I found out that Afghanistan is known for its emeralds and sapphires. I wasn’t even thinking about getting any jewelry but after learning this, I think I could use some emeralds and sapphires 😉
More to come from Kabul!