October 8, 2011

The internet in my hotel room is crawling. Snails would have a gala time racing with it because its not often they have a chance at winning. The room itself is like something out of a Pakistani movie from the 60s. Hell, most of Kabul looks like someone breathed life into some of the old black-and-white pictures of Pakistan they show us in the history books. Come imagine Kabul with me, think of Quetta (if you’ve been there) – or any dry, dusty but oddly majestic place with bare brown mountains. Make the mountains a little smaller and make them into hills. Add about ten times as many people and pile them up in little houses that snake up the hillside surrounding the city center. Add miles of barbed wire, concrete walls two-stories high and battalions of men-in-uniform drenched in heavy artillery. Minus a lot of women (you do see the occasional, fully covered specimen running around – but they’re generally few and far between) and add a LOT of male-Afghans-in-turbans – and I think you come somewhat close to what I see when I leave my guest house and drive through the city.

I should mention, that my guest house has a wide open garden space with cheap gray plastic chairs interspersed here and there. The garden is framed by gorgeous pink roses – big and beautiful beyond which are walls roughly 40 feet high – all concrete and bomb proof. In order to enter the guest house one has to pass through a security checkpost with heavy iron doors on each side, and then another tightly closed door on the inside. On the outside, the guest house looks like a crudely constructed prison. On the inside it looks like the interior designer was incredibly color-blind. The dining hall is an eyesore with bright blue walls and sharp pink curtains. Those are offset by corridor walls of a bright, pukeish green. Each door is a different shade of cream, and the rooms inside have no color combinations to speak off – just a motley collection of furniture arranged in no particular order.

I’ve been told that this place – Aasa 3 – Is one of the better places to stay in Kabul. I truly wonder, but I suppose since this is my first experience of its kind I have no choice but to take my hosts at their word. Plus after a sleepless night and a horrendously busy day spent in meetings after meetings I feel like I could lie down to sleep on a sharp-nailed-plank if I had to. And I might just have to – sleep on a plank that is. Sans nails. Thank God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Err, I had the impression that women were no longer required to cover themselves completely. Wasn't operation freedom which has now lasted an entire decade supposed to do that? So how is the suit and the chaadar working out? Also, I am loving the travelogues. Keep posting and stay safe!