"Impossible is Nothing"… Pretty sure Adidas didn’t have this scenario in mind when coming up with that slogan.
"Impossible is Nothing"… Pretty sure Adidas didn’t have this scenario in mind when coming up with that slogan.

Analysis of the AfMac Conflict.

After extensive field research ‘in-county’, Squeegee Kid concludes that the key to harmonious AfMac relations is to limit fraternization between the surge-happy municipal electricity supply of one side and the pampered, Western power cord of the other…

:D

'Copters.

Sitting in a traffic lock-down, waiting for Clinton to clear the area on Thursday, a balloon seller wondered past between our car and the adjacent police truck. Among inflated parrots and fish in his bunde bobbed a technicolour helicopter.

At the same time, a pair of choppers buzzed low over-head, scanning the vicinity for potential threats to her imperialist majesty, the Secretary of State. Round and round they flew, with doors open to give the automatic rifles an unhindered firing arc over all and sundry. 

My inspired colleague pointed first to the balloon, then to the choppers saying, “That’s a helicopter, and that’s a Hilary-copter.”

Simple pleasures.

What’s 9/11? Afghans never heard of NYC terror

Not surprising, just sad.

(Source: liberationfrequency, via visualterrorism-deactivated2012)

This is Afghanistan.

Is Hilary Clinton’s coffee date with Hamid Karzai causing solid traffic jams on your route home? ‘Yes!’ I hear you cry. Well, simply get out of your car and use some giant pine cones to strike up a game of petanque with the children attemtping to ‘clean’ your windscreen.

There now, with those helicopters circling ever lower and pointing their guns in your general direction, the situation has risen to that comforting level of surrealism you’ve become accustomed to while living in Kabul.

T.I.A. mutha-lickas.

A relaxing morning drive…

Yesterday morning we were driving into the city via Airport road. It’s a high-speed route that acts as a partial ring-road connecting the north and south of Kabul, avoiding the city centre. The wide lanes are not demarcated into sub-lanes and so vehicles constantly weave about like bumper cars, trying to get ahead. In the middle a concrete divider separates traffic going in either direction. There’s grass and trees planted along this narrow, raised barrier and men often relax there in the shade, unruffled by the motorised chariot races whooshing past on either side.

On a long, straight stretch, a lone Corolla came driving towards us in the wrong direction. I’m sure all four of us thought the same thing. It was just another example of the creative and deadly driving one has to be alert to on the roads at all times. However, within ten seconds, we saw another car headed our way, then another, and another. 200 yards ahead, the road had become a turning zone. I could see half a dozen trucks, taxis and family cars pulling U-ies, where seconds before, they’d been pushing 70mph.

As we slowed, it became apparent that over half of our fellow road users were now heading back to where they’d come from. The lane had become a two-way road, only it didn’t matter which side you drove on. They were figuring it out in the moment.

I looked ahead to where we should be heading and the where Kabul airport lay about a mile away, but couldn’t see anything unusual. No smoke rising, no tall military vehicles looming over regular traffic, inciting the mass turn-around.

The cars spinning around just ahead and on either side of our car were enough to convince us into the same course of action. We made a sharp turn right, reversed into a slot between two yellow and white taxis awaiting their turn to get the hell out of there, and accelerated into a smattering of on-coming traffic. Soon we pulled in behind a green Afghan National Police truck. Carefully, our vehicles trundled along on the hard shoulder, looking for a gap in the central divider to escape across to traffic flowing in our direction.

Looking now over my shoulder, I studied the horizon in the direction of the airport. I squinted to get a sharper focus in the smog. Still nothing appeared to explain the spontaneous panic. Often this road is closed for the arrival of important visitors by passenger plane, or the movement of military convoys in and out of Camp Phoenix, adjacent to the airport. But the high-tailing we’d just participated in felt sudden and urgent. I realised that we’d probably never get an explanation.

We were now driving towards the city centre, with its rush-hour traffic jams and checkpoints. More to the point, we were driving away from something; perhaps from nothing, perhaps from disaster. It didn’t matter. If people look like they’re escaping something in Kabul, your only concern is to abide by the mob mentality and do exactly the same thing.

In the city centre, we found ourselves in that heavy traffic, creeping past two gargantuan US Marine MRAP trucks (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected). They were stationed at a crossroads and had set up a loudhailer blaring orders in Dari. With no clue as to their intent, or that of the battle-clad Marines dotted around swaying their M16s from left to right, the journey past this spectacle felt sickening tense. Most frightening of all was the sight of the gun turrets atop each vehicle rotating like spasmodic robots. Even at rest, these appendages are a chilling sight. Now, it looked as if their operators were frantically tracking a moving target. Or perhaps they hadn’t mastered the controls and were at risk of squeezing off a few rounds at some poor bastard on his way to market.

Having cleared the hot zone we were still in the dark about both of the morning’s odd occurrences. We joked rather nervously about the frankly bizarre sight of US troops patrolling a main road in Kabul in broad daylight. It just doesn’t happen. Amidst a bustle of pedestrians and cyclists, a US Marine looming up in full body-armour and wrap-around shades, pretending to ignore his immediate surroundings. Even in this city, with its recent history, these chaps stand out like a sore thumb.

Thankfully, the morning didn’t get any weirder.

We’d just driven through a storm of grape-sized hail stones and thunder. This low hanging cloud marked our escape back under the sun.

We’d just driven through a storm of grape-sized hail stones and thunder. This low hanging cloud marked our escape back under the sun.

One dollar for some stank?

My Floridian housemate, looking incredulously out the car window at a ‘spandi bacha’ swinging his tin of rank smoke in our direction.

One extreme to another

This week the weather in Kabul pulled a switcheroo. It slid stealthily from summer into winter, roughly in the space of three days. In other words, Autumn lasted from Saturday to Monday. So far, the biggest inconvenience is that dramatic fluctuations between frigid nights and the still fiery midday sun have forced a change of night-time kit from shorts and t-shirts to layers of long sleeved and legged clothing. No one comes to Afghanistan with enough of the latter.

But it isn’t just the temperature. There’s also a distinct change in the air. Before 9am, it’s sharp and still as if suspended. One suspects that the smallest movement will result in a huge invisible shattering. The evenings are misty and sombre. Exhaust fumes linger in sharply defined clouds and people have become bulkier under billowing scarves, jackets and even blankets.

In Britain around this time, chain stores reveal their winter ranges and charity shops pack away t-shirts in favour of ‘hip’ garishly patterned jumpers. In Kabul, an equivalent swap takes place, though one which more truthfully reflects the stark economic reality in which it occurs. Rickety used clothes carts disappear under mounds of synthetic coats and worn boots swing by their laces from the awnings. In Shar-e-Now (the New City), the pavements remain overlooked by lengths of twine bearing second-hand clothing. Now though, t-shirts emblazoned with fading American university crests and the names of European tourist resorts are replaced by pull-overs and knitwear that wouldn’t look out of place in those English charity shops but that isn’t cynically priced according to its retro appeal.

This morning, Morgan pointed to the mountains from the car window. They form several rings around the city on all sides. The tallest, which are several layers back and only visible on the clearest days, have been snow capped for a week or so. Today, the closest mountains, which physically form the edge of Kabul, are also wearing their white caps. They are really nothing more than giant hills.

Thus, we have begun the creep towards another infamously bitter January.

09/10/11 Photo of the Day…
There is a goat in that car

09/10/11 Photo of the Day…

There is a goat in that car

Today I was trying to count how many floors are in Gulbahar [central Kabul high-rise, beside presidential palace and govt. foreign ministry] and the police tried to f**ing arrest me, man!

Oh sweet, naive housemate of mine.
Photos from the closing gig of the Sound Central Festival Kabul, 01/10/2011

Photos from the closing gig of the Sound Central Festival Kabul, 01/10/2011

getittogetherbaby:

HELP THESE GALS BUILD A CONCRETE PARK IN KABUL! 

getittogetherbaby:

HELP THESE GALS BUILD A CONCRETE PARK IN KABUL! 

Trick Log

Sunday, October 2nd

- Wall ride

- Proper tail stalls

Thanks to my new magic shoes. Shameless plug.

Housemate, walking conflict encyclopaedia, lover of Nutella, Wrigley’s 5 and egg-fried rice, night owl, agony aunt, closet Bollywood fan, friend.

Housemate, walking conflict encyclopaedia, lover of Nutella, Wrigley’s 5 and egg-fried rice, night owl, agony aunt, closet Bollywood fan, friend.