Flight to Kabul

Looking at the faces of the people about to board the flight to Kabul, I do wonder – what type of person goes to Kabul? Naturally, many of them are Afghans who work abroad. Not very interesting. But it is the Westerners, the non-Afghanis that fascinate me. Who are they and what is there story?

A young pretty girl is sitting there too. On her own. What’s her story? I imagine her to be working for some NGO or non-profit organisation. There’s the scruffy looking white guy who looks as if he has been wearing the same faded jeans for years. There are two young white guys with Bose headphones and laptops. I don’t feel out of place.

What was I expecting? A ragtag camel caravan of bearded blokes and an assortment of women with goats and chickens! How silly of me. How parochial of me. People who fly INTO or OUT of Afghanistan in an aeroplane aren’t going to be your typical Afghans by a stretch. This flight in not representative of the country. It is a gross contortion of the truth!

And then there’s me. Alone. With my secrets. I wonder if they can tell that despite my nonchalance and relaxed attitude, I am really, honestly, truthfully, shitting my pants. Can they tell I don’t belong? Or do none of us on that flight belong?

On the flight from London to Istanbul I was sat next to a bunch of Kuwaitis, and upon hearing of my next destination, they exclaimed in surprise:

“Kabul? Really?!”

Yes, really.

It is 4am in the morning. And I am still at Istanbul airport, and as you know my flight is delayed, and I am tired, and soporific, and a little half drunk and dazed, and a thought keeps popping into my head. It won’t go away. It keeps nagging me.

“Wasim, what the fuck are you doing here?!”

Let’s hope the next couple of days go some way in answering it.

And so I finished writing this with the expectation that I wouldn’t be writing any more and then guess what happens…?

They changed the fookin gate innit!

So we’ve been sitting at gate 502 which is on one end of Istanbul airport, and then just at the last minute, they change it to gate 310 which is on the other end. What then results is a mad rush to make it to the gate on time!

So to summarise, not only is the flight delayed by 3 hours, we even almost managed to not make it to the right gate on time.

And all this before my trip has even begun. Is this a portent of things to come? I can’t help but feel slightly perturbed at these developments. I haven’t even arrived in the country, and things already seem to be going hay wire.

What the fuck am I doing here?

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