Sunday, August 22, 2010

Upon returning to Kabul. Walking at Night and Beware of Toilets in General.

Upon Returning to Kabul

At the airport, I encountered a bit of confusion after getting my bags. Apparently, there is a new bus shuttle between the terminal and Parking Lot C (where you go if your drivers are not allowed to drive the car with the special VIP pass). The man I 'hired' to wheel my bags from the terminal to Parking Lot C wanted to wait for the shuttle. After waiting for 10 minutes, I said, I want to walk. He said no. I said, ok. He then asked me for money to pay him for his work. I said no, I hired you to go to Parking Lot C. And he raised his hands and said something I couldn't understand (which is probably a good thing) and I replaced my bags onto the cart. The ISAF dudes waiting for their pick up just laughed.

I sighed and started pushing the cart. The distance to Parking Lot C is about half a mile. Along the way, the numerous checkpoint men all laughed. You go through about 3 separate checks/stops. I agree that it must be a funny thing to see a tired woman push 120 lbs of luggage on a broken cart. Once I went past the third checkpoint, I hired a young boy to help me through the broken sidewalk and ramps areas. Then I got to laugh as the boy got help pushing the cart up the ramp (about a 45 degree angle) and rode the sleigh as he guided the cart down the ramp into the parking lot area. It was worth the five bucks tip I gave him for the smiles on everyone, including my own face, for those last few moments. And I also didn't have to explain my stubbornness to my driver and escort upon meeting them finally at Parking Lot C.

After my morning trekking through the Kabul airport grounds, I arrived home around 10 a.m. (we landed about 7:30 a.m.) I took a quick nap before my 1 p.m. shopping. I got to go shopping all by myself. This is such a rare treat! I made my list of places I wanted to go. Spinney's, New Finest, French Bakery.... We headed towards downtown and the driver and escort told me that the traffic was too bad, did we have to go downtown. I said, ok, no. I just went to the French Bakery at to the Pouli Sork Finest. It was my first time there and it will do. I was back home within 45 minutes. On one hand, it is nice to get things done so quickly. On the other, I like to see Kabul on these shopping trips. Just getting away means a lot. But I am just nice to the drivers---Ramazan and all. Everyone is cranky and sleepy.

So I returned at about 3 p.m. and napped until my planned meeting at 4:30. As my guest house warden, I wanted to meet and greet with the new employees. No one showed up. Typical. But I had given everyone the documents they needed and they can read it as they like. I am not responsible for anyone's educational status on safety or what they need to know before a crisis. Oh well. I live with adults. Hopefully, they will act like adults if a situation arises when we need them to be. hahahhahah. sigh.

Walking at Night

Then it was off to the AUAF President's house for Iftar/shared meal. I enjoyed myself. Afghan food. Company of several friends. Then when I had enough, I wandered outside. It was pitch black. They pointed to the van I would get in and then wait for a few others to join me. Their direction had me cross the open sewer and I was glad to notice the dark gully before I went a step further. Those deep sludge pits give me nightmares.

Beware of Toilets in General

Today's embarrassing moment was when I brushed the water hose in the toilet with my backside (the stalls are quite small and you straddle the toilet a bit and move to the side to open the door, which comes about 2 inches from the toilet seat, to make your exit). Not only did I get sprayed on my backside, it stayed on, so I got sprayed from back to front turning around to grab at it in my attempt to get to it to make it go off. Yes. That was my noon-time welcome back during my first day at work after summer holidays.

As everyone here has told me throughout the day today: Welcome Back!

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