Kabul – A Midnight Jog

Kabul taxi, can be dangerous day or night People tend to have more things to say when they are angry or disappointed. And today I do the same. I regret I didn’t tell you earlier how I was impressed by hospitality of Kabul taxi drivers, who usually refuse to receive money from a foreign guest (only lip service mostly, but anyway it makes me happy), but now I have to tell a scary experience with a Kabul driver. I was invited by a friend to a dinner in Wazir Akbar Khan area, the rich part of Kabul where many embassies, foreign organizations, and expatriate housings are located. I usually don’t stay until late night, but yesterday we talked until completely forgetting about the time. At the end, an AFP French reporter friend of mine realized that it was already 10:30, and we had to leave. She offered me to walk together to the main road, from where I can find taxi to go home and she went back to her house on foot. We walked together to the direction of the main road. Usually, at this inconvenient time of the day, taxis are hard to find. But God-knows-why, we found [...]

January 9, 2008 // 0 Comments

Chekhcheran – The Capital of Ghor Province

A boy from Chekhcheran selling bushes for fire. “We are the center of Afghanistan. But why we are so poor?” – a villager from Chekhcheran The capital of Ghor province was a famous arena in Afghan history pages. It was mentioned many times by Babur, the great Moghul emperor. It was also expecting to prosper much further in 1970’s when there was a plan to build road through the Central Route of Afghanistan, thus connecting the Europe as far as to New Delhi. But Chekhcheran today was an isolated town, far from both Herat and Kabul, suffering Taliban attacks in few years back, and now was desperate for further development. The road in the whole province was unpaved, and it was not lit by electricity at all. The whole province had to rely on private generators to produce local electricity to watch TV (no radio signal in the whole province), light the rooms, listen to Indian songs, and run businesses. At night, it was a complete dark. “We are the center of Afghanistan,” said a local man, “but why we are so poor? Why our life is so difficult?” Chekhcheran, geographically, located exactly at the center of Afghanistan. The man [...]

September 17, 2006 // 0 Comments

Bamiyan – Being Penniless in Afghanistan :(

No money! How can I survive here? I was so excited to continue my way from Bamiyan. Everything in my mind was about the blue crystal water of the Band-e-Amir, and the adventure that I would have to experience in interior Bamiyan province. I was so excited, until this incident, which evaporated all of my dreams, happened. Yesterday, just before sleeping, I counted my money. My money was put together with my passport, wrapped in an envelope, placed in the zipped pocket on my left chest of my jacket. It was always wrapped properly, and always my habit to count the money every day or every other day. That night, at about 7 pm, with Ayatullah, the Muslim teacher who has religious program in Radio Bamiyan watching me. Actually there were about 5 people living in this room, in the same office where Akbar Danish from the NGO worked. I was a guest, with Ayatullah and other two Hazara guys, plus the servant boy. I was listening to nice dangdut song from my MP3 when trying to pluck out my money from the envelope and to count it. First my passport jumped out. Then I was waiting for the Afghani [...]

June 23, 2006 // 6 Comments

Lahore – The Postal System

April 29, 2006 General Post Office (GPO) Lahore I never imagined that sending a CD by mail could be a very labourous work in Pakistan. That day I wanted to send some books and a CD of my photos to Indonesia. The post office system in Pakistan, as in India, curiously work inside and outside the building. Outside the building? Yes, in fact, half of the process of mailing have to pass these counters outside the building. There are a row of men with kiosks offering service of packing, packaging, enveloping, legal mattering, etc etc. The madam on the information desk directed me to an old man to package my books for the posting. The madam told me that this man would know anything I need to know. The book posting is quite cheap for sending books, with one requirement, the packaging should be one side opened for the checking by the post office. Then from outside I went back to the office building. The book post for sending my 1.5 kg books cost me only 166 Rs, but the man of the stamping counter said that I could not send the CD. He said that sending CD is ‘objection’. [...]

April 29, 2006 // 2 Comments

Gilgit – The Story of My Visa

Some tricks are needed to get a new visa extension March 9, 2006 Sorry for being snobby about visa, but I dont know why I have to be the poorest creature to be created to always have tragedies with visa, especially in this trip. From the Indian visa in Nepal, Pakistan visa in India, and now, Pakistan visa extension. As what I was believing, Pakistan visa was easy to extend, as the country is promoting tourism now. My visa was about a week left when I was in Muzaffarabad, and Rashid, the guy from our NGO, said that if that possible, than it would be very easy to extend. He just came back from Islamabad Monday 6th, and on Tuesday we started our ‘visa extension struggle’. First of all, instead of directly went to the DC Office where the extension and passport paperworks are done, we visited the Muzaffarabad SSP (I dont know what this stand for), the man with highest position in police department in Muzaffarabad. U know, in Pakistan you can go anywhere with connection. Knowing someone in the high position is always a good thing. Mr Kurshid, the Muzaffarabad SSP, is a very friendly man with very [...]

March 9, 2006 // 0 Comments