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Shazza's Escapades Light hearted look at my travel escapades

Afghan Endurance

AFGHANISTAN | Wednesday, 30 July 2008 | Views [2043]

This summer I went travelling around Afghanistan, obviously missing the most dangerous parts which are the Helmund and Kandahar provinces. I found it really interesting especially the people I met. I couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. I thought they wouldn’t be that susceptible to foreigners but they couldn’t get enough of us.


There were 7 of us in the group plus the tour leader and the local guide. The tour leader might as well not been there. He was just like another member of the group but slightly more annoying. He apparently spent a lot of years in Afghanistan doing photography which meant that he would be the best person for the job of leading the tour. Well a skill in dealing with people would be nice and also an understanding of the Afghan people. He absolutely hated them and the country. He didn’t have a positive word to say about either. He was always very sullen and a very negative person. Maybe all those years in the country has made him that way but from what I saw of him I think that’s just his way. The local guide was a complete moron, childish and very unorganised but likeable enough.


Now about my room mate…another one who loved getting her kit off any chance she got. She asked if I had a problem with nudity and I said not really. I should have said yes definitely and told her not to point any of her bits in my direction, but then there would be nothing to chat about with the rest of the group. We had a nudey report every morning with the gang in our jeep. She had a pierced nipple…a bar if I remember correctly. A nice enough lady that only ate salads and thought she was fat (typical) and hoorah…she didn’t snore.


I didn’t get up to much on this trip. I tried to behave myself because I knew where I was, I couldn’t just go wandering about on my own even though I tried on a couple of occasions to ditch the group and the armed guard. Did so in the bazaars and in Kabul near the hotel, just went out for a walk with another lady in the group just for a change. So it wasn’t too bad. Just got told off a couple of times to cover my hair, I hated doing this. So I compromised. I didn’t use the scarf because it would never stay on, I used a bandana instead and it seemed to work.


I did get into a little trouble with the tour leader. I was forever picking up stuff like spent shells and shrapnel. I found this huge anti aircraft shell in the citadel and I put it in my back pocket. When I showed him the shell he snatched it off me and threw it into the bushes. I was about to give him a piece of my mind when he shouted at me that the shell was in fact a live bullet. I had it in my back pocket for the last hour in the blazing heat, climbing up and crawling down on my butt from the walls of the citadel...just think, I could have blown me arse off! After checking to make sure that the shells I picked up were in fact not live I now have a nice collection of all sizes.


I loved the tanks that were just lying about the place. Some were in really good shape and others had been stripped. I climbed on them, got into a couple and managed to take off their serial tag which I’ve added it to my collection of shells.


The bazaars were great fun. The afghan people are so friendly and they loved having their photos taken. I’ve never seen so many different faces in one country. Sometimes you could mistake an afghan for being a White European especially the ones with beautiful blue eyes. Some had green eyes and very strong features from looking like an English person to a Mongolian person. The ones with the blue and green eyes are said to be descendents of Alexander the Great.


Obviously it was difficult to see the ladies as they were all covered in Burkhas. But the ones I met were very friendly. I met one lady at a mosque and took her picture without her burkha at her request. I went back to the mosque a few times during the day and kept bumping into her but obviously I wouldn’t have recognised her because of her burkha. She would come up to me and say something in Dari and I would look blankly, she would then pull up her burkha and say it’s me! And laugh her head off.


I saw something strange while walking in the bazaar. You know me and seeing naked people. Well this person was not really naked more topless. It was a slightly older and heavyset lady; she was minding her own business buying stuff from a stall when I noticed her pendulous bossoms. She had a very see through top. I had to look twice as usually women are covered from head to toe. This one was only wearing a head scarf (not only that, she had a top and bottom on too) but her boobs were on show. Funnily no one else noticed, not the shopkeeper who was right in front of them. I pointed it out to the tour leader and he was shocked. She finally saw us staring and looked down and realised her wardrobe malfunction and fixed her scarf to cover herself. Shame I didn’t take a photo.


On one of our very long and tough journeys back to Kabul we decided to have some melon. The guys in our jeep were great fun and this journey was no different, if maybe a little dangerous. The journey was tough because of the awful roads, potholes the size a minivans and long, winding and narrow roads. We in the backseat decided to cut up this melon as we were so hungry. We had been on the road for hours so we were desperate. Have you tried cutting a melon while being thrown around in the back of a jeep? We were lucky not to get garrotted. Melon juice everywhere, at least it wasn’t blood which could so easily have been the case. In fact the guy in the front seat got a little scratch on the back of the head as we were thrown forward and the knife slightly nicked him but no blood so it was all good in the end. I never laughed so hard in ages.


While in the PanjhirValleys we went horse riding which would have been great because of the scenery but my horse was obviously stoned. My horse guy was smoking a joint all the way and he kept offering me some. I kept saying no but my guide had a blast. My horse was acting weird because he would just try to sit down every chance he got and when we crossed the river I got completely soaked as again he tried to sit down. I guess they were right about secondary smoking…my horse was a goner.


One of the highlights of the trip was the night in an open air guesthouse across the river from Bagram Airbase. Let’s just say no one got any sleep that night. The whole place rocked when the F16’s flew past, about six in total. One of the best things I’ve seen is the Chinook helicopter against a moonlit backdrop. Fanbloodytastic!


In fact I loved this trip completely. Yeah the guide was a moron and the tour leader was a bit of an old git but to be in Afghanistan was a highlight in itself and made up for some of the crappy bits that happened during the trip.



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