Traffic fLaws

Feb 2, 2011   //   by LouBu   //   culture, long, photos  //  1 Comment

Osten­si­bly, in Afghanistan, traf­fic dri­ves on the right hand side of the road. How­ev­er, this rule is lenient­ly applied. In Afghanistan the road is used for dri­ving, and if the left hand side of the road is open, a dri­ver will take it.  Today while cruis­ing down the lane of oppos­ing traf­fic, we had to edge back into the reg­u­lar flow to pass a check­point. The guard was angry. “Why were dri­ving on the oth­er side of the street??” He demand­ed, accord­ing to…

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So like no shit, there we were…

Jan 31, 2011   //   by peretz   //   long, photos, terms  //  No Comments

Today we went on the PRT (provin­cial recon­struc­tion team) base in Jalal­abad. Lou had arranged the meet­ing. A New York­er was run­ning it. He spoke fast (refresh­ing­ly so, as one’s mind atro­phies from a pre­dom­i­nance of inter­ac­tion with non-native speak­ers.) He was excit­ed about a par­tic­u­lar new fund­ing stream from USAID that was meant for off­beat projects that are not being addressed by oth­er large funds. Lou had con­nect­ed a few dots and sug­gest­ed crick­et fields and now the ball…

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Measure Ma’an

Jan 29, 2011   //   by peretz   //   photos, videos  //  2 Comments

Each be ruled by his own. Here in Jalal­abad, wood is ruled by a ma’an (my spelling, try­ing to capu­ture the pro­nun­ci­a­tion. Else­where it is spelled mann.) Most of the heat­ing and cook­ing ener­gy needs in Afghanistan are sup­plied by wood. Along the road you see plen­ty of shacks of the wood deal­ers.  Today we stopped by.  Typ­i­cal­ly kids are chop­ping wood while an old­er beard­ed pro­pri­a­tor (father/uncle) is sip­ping tea and wait­ing for cus­tomers. I noticed our wood was being…

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Jan 21, 2011   //   by peretz   //   Uncategorized  //  1 Comment

Behold a typ­i­cal Afghan shoe. It’s a dress shoe, because that’s the pre­ferred style. And it’s bent in the back because they wear them like slip ons. This is con­ve­nient. Afghans take them on and off so many times a day. They take them off to pray 5 times a day. They take them off when­ev­er they enter some­ones house for tea, etc. etc. And this is prob­a­bly true across most of Cen­tral Asia and many oth­er coun­tries in the…

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Guns and Welding

Jan 20, 2011   //   by LouBu   //   Uncategorized  //  2 Comments

I was play­ing around with my stick weld­ing skills when I attract­ed the inter­est of one of our secu­ri­ty guards. He wan­dered up, try­ing to look non­cha­lant, to check out what I was doing that was mak­ing so many sparks.  I showed him the sec­tion of an ammo case lid where I had ground off the paint and was prac­tic­ing lay­ing welds. When he saw I also had a 40mm bul­let cas­ing, then he got real­ly excit­ed. He pulled out a…

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Ladies Night…. Or Afternoon

Jan 15, 2011   //   by LouBu   //   long, photos  //  2 Comments

The park in Jalal­abad is, like so many oth­er pub­lic venues, open to men only. How­ev­er, Wednes­day is spe­cial. Wednes­day is Ladies Day. So Jenn, Kel­lie and I decid­ed to take a soc­cer ball and spend a few hours hang­ing out in the park with the Ladies of Jalal­abad. The park is sur­round by tall walls, shield­ing it from the views of passers­by and the entrance is guard­ed, per usu­al, by a young man in fatigues hold­ing an AK-47. He…

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Coming to Terms

Jan 14, 2011   //   by peretz   //   terms  //  No Comments

And there’s more where these came from… FOB — for­ward oper­at­ing base, as in FOB Fen­ti, a US Army base at Jalal­abad Air­field (JAF) FOB — free open bar, as in FOB TAJ 😉 COMMS — com­mu­ni­ca­tions, cell phone con­nec­tion, inter­net, radio.  Got­ta keep it run­ning. Prime — Main per­son on task, who has to keep COMMS flow­ing. “You’re prime, I need you to have COMMS.  None of that cell­phone stolen in the mar­ket busi­ness.” COP — com­bat out­post, COPs are sup­port­ed by FOBs.…

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Kabul to Jalalabad

Jan 12, 2011   //   by peretz   //   long, photos, taj  //  4 Comments

The ride from Kab­ul to Jalal­abad was long and adven­tur­ous. I saw a dog being killed in Kab­ul. They are con­sid­ered pests here. Most of our dri­ve time was spent sit­ting in traf­fic on the windy seg­ment of the Kab­ul Riv­er Gorge (also called Tan­gi Gharu). Part of the rea­son for the bad traf­fic is that peo­ple tend to dri­ve on both sides of the road in both direc­tions. At first it seems like a good idea, you get a lit­tle bit…

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Hardware Shopping

Jan 10, 2011   //   by LouBu   //   photos, taj  //  3 Comments

As it turns out, Jalal­abad has no Home Depot. Not even an ACE Hard­ware. So, when I want­ed to pur­chase an arc welder  to make fur­ni­ture and art out of old ammo cas­es and bul­let cas­ings, Mehrab took me and Peretz to the bazaar. More specif­i­cal­ly, to the hard­ware store sec­tion. Jam packed stalls nes­tled next to one anoth­er, crammed and over­flow­ing with jumper cables, machine belts, rusty bolts, and cheap Chi­nese screw dri­vers. Func­tion­ing as indi­vid­ual isles of the…

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Nangahar Public Hospital

Jan 4, 2011   //   by peretz   //   hospital, long, photos  //  7 Comments

The first time we came to the hos­pi­tal, the staff apol­o­gized pro­fuse­ly for not being able to host us. They were deal­ing with the wound­ed of a sui­cide bomb­ing inci­dent in the dis­trict. There was one casu­al­ty. Five peo­ple were in the OR. And they were embar­rassed in front of us, that such things hap­pen in their coun­try. We left, and came back yes­ter­day. Nan­ga­har Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal (NPH) is a Region­al Post-Grad­u­ate Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal for the East­ern Region of Afghanistan.…

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