Friday was shopping day. And then an evening at Taverna Du Liban and a night out at L'Atmosphere.
Shopping was exciting. I will be able to find anything I want or need. No worries about that. You just need enough dollars.
I signed up for the afternoon shopping tour. We went first to Spinneys. This is the same Spinney's as you would find in Dubai, but without a Pork Room. I was so happy when I found a few Dr. Peppers! I got everything that I thought that I needed and was the first back to the van. I was able to casually observe near the front of the van and on the steps of the Spinneys a man butchering a goat. He was skinning it at first and then lopped off the whole head. While I was coming down the stairs, he tossed it and it landed at my feet. I looked him in the eye and we both smiled. I stepped over the poor goat's head and met my supplies man from Spinneys where he loaded my bags into the car. You do not tip them, this is just their job.
Then we all went to the new Finest. Oh my! This place has everything including Dr. Peppers by the case. So amazing. I will want for nothing. I bought a can of crushed tomatoes and some pasta from Pakistan that I got mostly because the brand name was 'Cock'. I just find that kind of thing funny. Yes. I do.
Once we got back from shopping, I showered up and cleaned up my shoes (It has been rainy/snowy for three days now). I would be going out to an AUAf function/party next.
I was picked up with my friend, Bruce, and the legal counselor of AUAf, Mike. We were driven all over town to get to Taverna Du Liban, a wonderful, if slow, Lebanese restaurant. We joined a group of AUAf faculty and staff numbering about 20-25. There was a smoking end of the table and a non-smoking side. I was right in the middle next to Mike, the lawyer and some wonderful new colleagues.
Our conversation was lively at times. I defended Texas and the south in general. I defended Islam and Christianity to the extent that I was comfortable. I got along with everyone, too. I reminded my compadres that Vermont, too, has a constitutional right to leave the union if they so wished and just because Rick Perry was a big mouth about it, Vermonters have mulled it over a time or two recently themselves.
Then after dinner, our big group split up between those going home and those going out to L'Atmosphere. I joined the latter. And enjoyed a bit of scotch to wash down the kebbe.
L'Atmosphere or L'Atmo is the expat hang out. To enter, you welcome a pat down and a bag search. There was a man, not of our party, who felt comfortable joking about 'having everything they are looking for' during his pat down. He then listed those items off; "knives, guns, IEDs"... and no one smiled at him. You go through several locked doors before you enter the compound. They do not open the next one until the other is closed and locked. Yes, I felt comfortable enough.
The bar was very crowded. Lots of young expats hoping for a good time that night. I got my rounds of scotch and followed the leader to a more quiet room where we all just grooved quietly with a spattering of conversations. It was just a shared moment of ahhhh. Relaxation, Kabul-style.
Then I shared a taxi with two AUAf women colleagues and was back at the guest house by about midnight. That was my first Friday night in Kabul.