Kabul: From One Gate to Another – Part 3

Kabul was surprisingly a good trip despite the security situation. The last day was kind of a hurried one. We were able to fit in a visit to Babur Gardens. It was so worth it!

Entering Babur Gardens.

Leaving Kabul was an event in itself. We got to the airport entrance and had to get out of the car without our belongings to be patted down. Women are sent to a separate area from men. (Note: The women who do the pat downs are unrelenting patters. If you have something on you, they will find it.) Then we hopped back in the car only to be stopped 50 meters down at another checkpoint where we got patted down again and our luggage got searched. Then back to the car we went, this time to the parking lot where we said goodbye to our colleagues and headed to the terminal. At the terminal, we had to go through another pat down and then put our luggage through an x-ray machine. Once we got our boarding tickets, we headed to the gate and through the last security check. Our luggage went through a second x-ray machine and I got another pat down (as if I had enough time to obtain and conceal a weapon on me from the last pat down). Oh well, what can you do.

I just finished sorting through my photos. I wanted to take more pictures than I did. I held back for multiple reasons. For one, I didn’t want to be stared at. I don’t think this is the kind of place where people take lots of pictures. Also I don’t think they allow pictures of some things. And I heard that cameras are a popular item to steal.

Dinner the first night at Chicken Street Bistro:

The view from my room at the guesthouse:

Our typical lunch at the cafe near the office:

Chicken wrap with fries. 

Iftar at the Inter-Continental Hotel:

Various meals from expat restaurants:

From top to bottom: Falafel, hummus, cheese tarts, chicken soup from Taverna du Liban; Bread basket with jam and garden seating at Le Jardin.  
From left to right: Veggie galette, burger, scrambled eggs from Le Jardin; Chicken Kebab wrap from Flower Street Cafe; Pumpkin dish, naan, rice with raisins, carrots and almonds from Sufi Restaurant and Art Gallery. 

Charity and I taking a picture of us taking a picture:

The colorful gates of Kabul:

Butcher street:

The ruined Darul Aman Palace:

Kabul Museum:

We ended up doing quite a bit while there. For lunch, we would go to the cafe next door that served decent wraps and quesadillas. Dinners were mostly spent in though we did manage to go out a few times. My favorite restaurant was Sufi which serves Afghan cuisine. It was by far the best restaurant! I kind of want to go to Helmand Palace again in SF now that I’ve been to Kabul and compare the food. There were only a few tourist locations we could go to. One being Chicken Street – the shopping area – though even that proved to be somewhat sketchy. Apparently back in 2008 there were a few occurrences of expats being kidnapped from Chicken Street. Kabul Museum was another place we got to see which was nice. My favorite sight was Babur Gardens, a park with pretty gardens where the emperor Babur is buried. It was really cool to see so much green grass and flowers while surrounded by brown mountainous hills.

All in all, Kabul was not so bad. What I missed the most was mobility. I thought Dhaka was limiting but this was even more so. You are essentially traveling from one gated compound to another. And on top of that you have to worry about your security which is a strange concept since here in the states I don’t have to scan the news before leaving my apartment. Clothing is also something I don’t have to think about here. Well I’m back now which feels great. My mom, sister and cousin are in town for a few days this week so Chris and I are showing them around. Summer is almost over – where did the time go?

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