Monday, January 5, 2009

One Narrow Miss After Another

The other day out on the road in Kabul we very nearly ran over a girl who couldn't have been more than two years old. We were driving along at about 40mph on a four-lane highway when the vehicle in the right lane swerved hard to the right to reveal what I initually thought was some kind of animal. In the rear view mirror she turned out to be a little girl toddling from the right lane to the left.

My driver, Greg, had just enough time to react, narrowly missing her himself. The five cars right behind us also came within inches of ending her, tires squealing and horns honking, before a woman came running out of her house on the other side of the highway. She ran across three lanes of traffic and snatched the girl out of the road.

Small children playing in the streets here are a pretty common sight. This particular road has no guardrails or sidewalks, so when we're driving we're sharing the road with bicycles, horsecarts, pedestrians, and herds of sheep. In fact, chaos is pretty much standard when it comes to traffic here. Still, we were a bit on-edge for the rest of the trip.

Fortunately we fared better than some other folks did later the same day.

We were across town when the riot started. We'd pulled into a US base to pick up a passenger and grab lunch. While we were stopped there was a traffic collision involving a US military truck that resulted in fatalities. The crowd got angry and things got ugly. You can read more about it in the story above, but suffice it to say we were stuck on the base until late at night waiting for the roads to clear.

If we'd have finished lunch just a few minutes earlier, we would've been right in the middle of the whole mess.

In other news, it finally snowed in Kabul. It's the first time since I got here that the place looked even a little bit clean:
And there have been no less than three earthquakes in Afghanistan above a magnitude 5.8 in the last week. Last night's registered at magnitude 6.2 and I slept through it.

1 comment:

  1. if it was 5.8 you wouldnt be under a roof, couldnt have been very near you. Im glad you are ok cos this blogs great