Afghanistan: Q & A Session

How am I? Very well. Thanks for asking!

Where am I now? In the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. A day’s drive from Kabul through spectacular bandit country
Where am I staying? In a guest house called ‘Impeerial Sueets’ (their spelling not mine). They have wi-fi, hot water (actually luke-warm) and towels. Clean one’s.
Most traumatic experience so far? An evil looking toilet I visited in a village near Kabul. Had to hold my nose shut with my hands while taking the longest piss of my life…
Most sublime moment so far?  The long moment between waking up and sleeping
How is Kabul? Dusty. Chaotic. Full of bad drivers. Hemmed in by mountains. Pot pourri of races and languages. Dodgy money exchangers. Lethal ‘rob you blind’ street traders. Brilliant!
Have I stepped on a land mine yet? Don’t be silly
How do you cross roads here? You jump in front of moving vehicles. Just make sure they have enough braking distance! Takes practice but you get better at it trust me! Assuming you’ve not killed yourself.
Have I been shot at, bombed, chased by theTaliban? Yeah, all the time man. I’m persona non grata numero uno. I can handle it.
How do I wash my clothes? Myself! Don’t take clothing to the local dry-cleaners. My jet black jeans came back stone-washed!
Have I brought you anything? Yeah, I’ll soon be sewing it into the lining of my luggage bag. Hopefully I’ll be smelling so bad at the airport the dogs won’t notice
Have I committed any cultural faux pas? Not many luckily. I’ve been invited for many ‘dawats’ (guest meals) at Afghan houses, and the meals have been lavish beyond reckoning. Afghan hospitality deserves the reputation it holds. They treat guest like kings and keep filling your plate with food. You all sit and eat on the floor. You shouldn’t stretch your legs (considered  rude). But you can burrrp loudly. In fact if you DON’T burp loudly after the meal it is considered an insult!
Is it dangerous here? It’s all in the lap pf the gods my friends
Best thing(s) I’ve tasted? Kabuli pilau and a delicious milk ice cream thingy called ‘Sheriak’ (not Shrek!)
What music have I been listening to as the soundtrack to my travels? Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams!
Most annoying thing? Not knowing if the smile you are getting from an Afghani is cos he is genuinely pleased to see you – or because, he see’s you as a business opportunity.
What have I been drinking? Whiskey. Kiddin’ – green tea and sometimes a delicious milk tea called ‘Dood Pathie’.
How is Afghanistan? Surreal. Nuts. Cruel. Enchanting. Generous. Beautiful. Unique. Like totally.
How cheap are the drugs here? Oh man, that’s the best thing. A couple of quids worth will keep you ‘chasing that dragon’ for days. And it’s not like any of that skanky weedy stuff you get back home. This is pawoper man!!
So I’ve been told.

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