A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Afghani Ramblings...

I'm not sure how I got this bunch to stand still for a second after receiving their meds, but maybe the camera helped. These are some additional photos from the medical clinic (MEDCAP) that I wrote about three weeks ago. I liked these lil' guys, and had to get them in here. Their reaction is really priceless when I show them the photo on the camera screen, as if to say, "Hey thanks for stealing my reflection and putting it in that box, that was cool. Can you put me back now?" Actually some of them know that a printed photo can come from it, so if anyone knows of a tiny, handheld photo printer, I'm all ears. I went out on another of these missions this past weekend (any excuse to get out into town, but also to see more of the incredible difference our trained people and resources can make), and will get those photos up soon.
Burqas are still an absolutely jarring thing to witness in person. In a very religious region like this, the burqa is still omnipresent, and I really find it ghostly to watch them interact with each other. But as I noticed this past weekend, they often remove the veil once they've entered an environment of westerners, revealing a human face behind the shield. The most disheartening thing to see, aside from the obvious extremes of poverty that many Afghans live with, is the little girls who imitate women and try to cover their face whenever they feel anyone has glanced at them. Of course our girls have Britney to emulate, so there are reasons to worry the world over, I guess.
Khost doesn't look so bad, does it? This is one of those views where it's easy to see that this area was fertile and more arable not long ago. With the "winter" weather as warm as it's been, it's not hard to see why orange groves are prominent in this region. But a drought going back a few years has dried up the ground, and their reliance on wood fires can't help matters...come to think of it, I have no idea where they're still chopping down trees. The result? Oranges that are drier than a policy speech on total quality management. But when they can't burn wood, they're busy burning garbage...ah, torched trash, the smell of every Khost morning.
Connection issues are hampering me again and I'm upset like this guy about it. But I have a few notes: First of all, this blog has spread farther and wider than I ever imagined already, so welcome to all you strangers! Also it has resulted in some hilarious moments for me...a friend of mine from Norway responding to two Marine friends who were with me in Norway, none of whom know each other...and all reminiscing about how the unbelievably terrible Cher song "Do you Believe in Love?" became the norse nation's anthem in the winter of '99. Between that song and liters of beer, I'm not sure how the suicide rate stayed under control. Oh, and there have been some commenters whose questions I'd be happy to answer in email, but can't do it through the blogger system. So leave an email address when you comment, and I will do my best to get back to you.
One last note: Like my young friend here, I'm a bit of a skeptic. So pardon me to be surprised at a couple of milestone birthdays that just passed. Buenos cumpleanos to you, Joneser and Lara! I haven't learned it in Pashto yet...they're not big on birthdays you have to settle for Spanglish. And though the day has just passed, it's not too late to say HAPPY VALENTINE'S don't have to tell these guys (did you think I was kidding about the special, um, closeness?)


Blogger El Preggo said...

Capt Dan,

I have no idea how I've come across your blog, but the fact is, I'm here, and the last time I took advantage of a situation like this, things turned out pretty, well, let's just say an important, life changing impression was made. Upon me, for me...

I suppose what intrigued me about your blog when it popped up was- uh- your spelling, believe it or not. Flawless. Silly, but true. Then I went on to view the photos. Thanks for those; they capture perfectly the nature of the land/culture/situation/your thoughts... and they sure as heck beat what's relentlessly aired on WNT and/or any of the other big three. Or is it big four? I don't even like to watch anymore. I hate to not be in the know, so to speak, but frankly what I see and hear hardens the heart. NPR has even joined the ranks of the-world-is-really-sucking-now revelation... And now even the VP is taking shots. Bad joke, I know... but still- the "incident" took place right on the heels of my watching Bowling for Columbine for the first time. Ugh. ANYway, your blog is a blessing, so, thanks. By the sound of things, it seems I'm not the only one who thinks so. I haven't read far enough in, and perhaps you don't even mention it, but, I'm not sure what you do, exactly. Whatever you do now, I hope one day you'll write a book, maybe more.

I'm not certain I'm responding to your post in the right way, and, as this is becoming more like your ramblings than it is a comment, I'll end here.
It would be great to hear from you, and I'd love to send a care-package to you and your friends (no camera printers, sorry... not soon anyway), so drop me a line if and when you have the time.
Best for now, Liz

February 15, 2006 at 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

Hey Capt Dan,

My son just arrived your location. He is with the 10th Mountain Div. I was looking for info on the area and found you. Thanks for your comments and pics. It's good for the families to know a little of what their soldiers are seeing and doing.

Thanks from Kentucky!

February 15, 2006 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Inner Prop said...

The wood comes from Pakistan. Most of the consumer goods and raw materials in Khowst come from Pakistan.

In fact, everything we got shipped in (even US stuff) that didn't come in by plane came through Karachi.

I'm curious about the orchards in Salerno. If you want secure commo with me please email me at and I will give you my AKO email address.

Liz if you like this blog you could also try

February 15, 2006 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Herschel_Krustofski said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 16, 2006 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Herschel_Krustofski said...

The oranges may be dry but it looks like excellent soil for growing tomacco! Keep safe Duece.

February 16, 2006 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

Good to see "Man Love Thursday" continues on... didn't the spring rains of last year help the orchards? I know up north they were laughing all the way to the bank with the snows in the mountains and all. Buggers kept asking us to plant trees all around Bagram.

February 16, 2006 at 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,

I check your blog often to see how you are doing and love to see the pictures and get a grounds-eye view of what's going on...If you want another person to email with, contact me at

Stay safe,

Danny Miller

February 17, 2006 at 6:12 AM  
Blogger I Love Jeets said...

Latin. Gravitas.

February 17, 2006 at 6:40 AM  
Blogger I Love Jeets said...


February 17, 2006 at 6:42 AM  
Anonymous COCO said...


February 20, 2006 at 7:52 PM  

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