Thursday, April 23, 2009

Parwan Province Pictures

Earlier this week a handful of us from the office made a run up to Bagram Air Base to visit with the PRT Commander there and check in with the guys from the 101st Airborne's staff. As an added bonus, this would give me a chance to check in at the Navy admin shop where they manage all of the naval personnel in country and find out when I'm leaving.

The whole thing was pretty routine. The weather was just moist enough to keep the dust down in the morning on our way out of Kabul. As we were halfway out of town, we passed one of the countless guys on bicycles making a delivery. This wouldn't have been unusual if it weren't for the fact that this particular guy was delivering balloons:

balloon dude
Other than that, the drive from Kabul to Bagram was unremarkable. We passed the usual assortment of jingle trucks and open space and little kids filling potholes in the road.

Everything we had to do in Bagram went smoothly enough. The only real problem was that I still don't have the orders I need to get me out of this godforsaken country and the guys in the Navy's admin office tell me there's nothing they can do to help me. I'm trying to get back into the Zen mindset that makes it easy to roll with all of the delays and disinterest I'm getting from the folks that are supposed to take care of this crap, but it's a bit more frustration than I'm used to.

Anyhow, once we were all done with our various to-do lists it was time to drive back to Kabul. Unfortunately we ended up stuck behind a French convoy:
French Convoy
Along the way we saw the usual assortment of traffic:
Veggie Jackass
Then I spotted the first camels I've seen since arriving in Afghanistan. It wasn't for lack of looking, they just happened to be elsewhere:
Parwan Camels
But for some reason there were plenty of them this time around:
Parwan Camels2

There was also the usual alltoment of small children alongside the highway waving:
Parwan Locals
Of note, most gas stations I've seen in Afghanistan use gas-powered pumps. If you look at the pumps in the background above, you'll notice small engines like you'd find on a lawn mower attached to the far side of each one. Whoever pumps the gas has to pullstart the pump first.

Then, in the midst of all of the little kids who usually stand on the side of the road filling potholes, there was this one little girl who decided to stop waving and point the bottom of her feet at us:
Angry Girl In case you didn't know, it's considered an insult in most Afghan tribes (and most Muslim people in general) to show someone the bottoms of your feet. Bitch.

Aside from that part, we had the usual scenic drive through Parwan Province:
Parwan Countryside

Back in Kabul we returned to an unusually serene afternoon:
downtown Kabul
With the usual assortment of oddities on the road:

Also, I noticed a local bicycle repair shop for the first time:
Afghan Bike Shop

So that's that.

Stay tuned for story and pictures from the trip to Lowgar Province. It should be at least as interesting as this post.

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