so i took my car for its first proper spin since i left for Afghanistan in May and boy, did it feel good. there are many adventures to be had on Kabul roads but the sensation of speed is usually not associated with any of them. that said, it was nice to be back pounding my way through traffic on Lake Shore Drive at some considerable miles per hour.*
*note that while i use the word “considerable,” my actual speed did not exceed the highly reasonable posted limit of 45 MPH. i believe speeding on LSD is morally wrong in ALL circumstances, even if it prevents others from rear-ending your vehicle because you’re only doing 50 in the fast lane.
Beka and i went to see Pianomania today and i couldn’t help listen in on the riveting conversation the obnoxious people behind us were having while waiting for the film to start. they were talking about outrageous things like tea and how one of them likes chicken a certain way. their raucous banter was so enchanting, i didn’t want the magic to end.
on the plus side, i think my body is finally off Kabul time and somewhere in the mid Atlantic now.
in a bizarre twist of fate, my jetlag seems to have its own jetlag as it’s hit me head-on two days later than it probably should have. i’ve tried everything to right my sleeping schedule from eating copious amounts of delicious red grapes to watching Monster Tajima smash the 10 minute barrier at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. frankly, i’m running out of ideas.
i woke up at around 6am today to find my inbox absolutely packed with notes of congratulation. thanks for wishing us well, everyone!
so i’m back at Charles de Gaulle again after a restful 14 hour layover in Dubai.
the Soviet 12.7x108mm shell casing got nabbed by customs in Dubai on my way out despite being obviously inert and completely harmless. i was taken to the security office at DXB where i watched several policemen pass the shell back and forth because none of them knew how to properly classify it on the confiscated item form. finally, they gave it to the secretary who took one look at it and promptly threw it back at the policemen. i imagine that someone eventually put something like “rusty cylinder” down and called it a day. on the way back to the baggage screening area, the guy told me that they know the shell isn’t a security risk but that they enforce these silly rules because they’re afraid that U.S. customs officials would call and yell at them if it caused a problem stateside. oh well. no big deal.
i managed to sleep during most of the flight from Dubai to Paris, a small wonder considering how old the plane was and how many people were complaining to the flight crew about the dirty cabin and lack of personal media screens. when i woke up, a bearded Frenchman wearing a sheer mesh top, blue jacket and red pirate pants was doing his morning stretches directly next to my seat.
since today is my last day in Afghanistan for a while, we were planning on going back to the Chinese restaurant but some small arms fire in Wazir and subsequent shutting down of the main road unfortunately made it impossible to do so.
speaking of shootings, i finally identified the militaria that we dredged up from a stream in Paghman. the magazine is from a Tokarev TT-33 semi-automatic pistol and the shell casing is from a 12.7x108mm cartridge. both were heavily used by the Soviet Union which further reinforces my theory that they are relics from the Soviet War in Afghanistan.
anyway, i’m flying out to Dubai early tomorrow morning and then from there i’ll be heading to Paris and then finally back home to Chicago. wish me luck!
today was joyously slow and quiet. it was a day of cold water, naan pizza and poorly subtitled films.
in other words, it was a good day.
i went out to Parwan Province today to document the operating theater at an eye clinic in the capital of Charikar. for those of you out there who have never witnessed an eye surgery before, it’s definitely not for the squeamish which is something i didn’t fully realize or appreciate until today. yikes.
the other big thing that happened today was the suicide bombing attack on the provincial governor’s compound that occurred late this morning about one kilometer away from where i was. i didn’t see anything but i definitely heard the explosion. let’s just say it was loud.
anyway, i’ve been feeling pretty exhausted for the past few days so i’m looking forward to spending the rest of my trip decompressing before i head back to Chicago early Friday morning. time for sleep!