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...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Scenes of the city

As burqas and veils flew past in a blur, and old men and children milled around much more slowly during stops, I attempted on a recent drive through Kabul to capture a bit of the city's appearance to fresh (though tired) eyes...

It's "Abbey Road", Kabul version 2010!

"My friend, how do you keep from getting tripped up in the shawls and manjammies when you ride this contraption downtown?"

"Brother, can you spare a -- whoa, is that an Escalade heading this way?"

I don't know why I liked this one...maybe two cabs actually in the same color scheme, maybe the masked man approaching, maybe the snow-capped mountains beyond...but probably the earthquake effect of one very bumpy ride for taking 'happy snaps.'

One of the bright spots of driving around this mountainous city is catching a glimpse of the still-white Hindu Kush, no matter how warm a Summer day it feels like in the dirt-colored dust bowl below.

I was astounded by this mosque when we first drove upon it.  After hearing so often that nothing survived the Afghan civil war -- and the particularly brutal urban warfare of Kabul -- intact, it was a sight to behold.

The banks of the Kabul River, actually with some water in it.  No one's about to confuse it with the Seine, but I felt a twitch of excitement upon seeing it in its city.  The last time I was in country, I only saw it flow (with much more volume) much further East...

"We got shades here! You can't begin to look like ZZ Top without your cheap sunglasses, man! The beard only gets you halfway!"
I'm not usually the type who'd wax poetic about billboards...I think you're probably sick in the head (or more likely, the heart) if that's your idea of urban beautification.  But here -- where it just signifies choices, trade and normalcy to a foreigner like me who wants to help "normalcy" along in any way possible -- it's a sign of hope.

Rather than attach one of the countless stories being cranked out daily by the crush of news media in Kabul about Afghanistan's shifting politics, its bad dudes in powerful places, or the associated blame game with all of that, there's this one.  There's a war going on...and grunts like these are setting out on patrol every day, unsure each time if it will be their last -- but unswerving in their determination to make the land safer.  I'm humbled to wear the same uniform as them...


Blogger Ky Woman said...

Loved the pictures, but one question...Do you always have to ride in convoys? Are there no times that you all get out of the vehicles and just stroll about in Kabul? Or is that verboten?

Y'all stay safe, ya hear?

June 14, 2010 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Puertorican girl in Brussels said...

Love the stories! Stay safe and continue to document your journey! Mucho amor desde Bruselas!

June 15, 2010 at 3:19 AM  
Blogger yomistast said...

This is post was probably funniest set of observations I've read in a while and then it shines a light on the dangers you all are facing over there. Keep up the good work, Cuz. Stay Safe. Mets keep on winning!

June 16, 2010 at 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Slappy said...

Oh, I like this one... One dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way, and this guy's sayin', "Whaddaya want from me?" Guy's got a nice head of white hair, it's beautiful.

June 17, 2010 at 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Blewis said...

I am truly intrigued by the bicycle photo, and of course, caption. How DO they keep their wide-legged flowy manjammies from getting caught in the chain? Perhaps you should teach them the benefits (both safety and style) of tight-rolling their pants! You could be such a style guru!

June 18, 2010 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Jari said...

Great blog and pictures -- I am going to enjoy reading this stuff. Glad you enjoyed the Cup of Joe -- be safe.

July 3, 2010 at 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Major Dan,
Those mountains with antennas in Kabul bring back memories. My sister and I climbed that mountain once years ago. We went up only half way w/me almost killing my sister in the process. by accident that is. I remember lots of lots rocks. oh, memories....
Thank you,

March 3, 2011 at 2:44 PM  

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