A little more wall....

....a little less me.
I'm making room for crabs and sushi.... can't wait to see everyone. Two weeks and three days.


Overview and Room-mates.

This is an overview of the site from a galaxy far far away.
....and my newest room-mates.
I originally asked one of my staff to find out how much a parrot would cost but something must have gotten lost in translation because he came back with these two love birds.... I'm liking them though. Trying to think of names, probably 'local' names.


Masoud Circle, almonds and coffee

Forgive the blur at the top....
Not such a great picture but right now this is a restricted area for us. These were taken at 20-25 mph on the way to the site.... It's Masoud Circle...

Masoud was an Afghan fighter that fought hard for his side and killed over 100 Russian Soldiers. After the invasion was over he was killed by his own people because he was believed to be getting too powerful. Whenever there are demonstrations in Kabul they mostly happen here.

This is an almond tree from my back yard. I would have sworn they were some variety of immature peaches but Baba says almonds.

This is the inside of 'Cabul Coffee House'...Sorry that it's a little blurry, I'll work on getting a better one.
This is the 'courtyard' of the coffee house, not quite Starbucks but it is still great.


Interesting Title Goes Here.

This is just a shot I had to take of the drilling rig (for water) but just look behind it to the mountains.... how beautiful is that. It's certainly a better view than the flat fields of soybeans I grew up seeing.

This my little temporary office out on site... It's a 20 foot metal shipping container... it's got an air conditioner of course but not the most comfortable place to spend any time. See my stylish scarf there.... I have to wear it to keep the dust out of my eyes and ears....it's like talcum powder...

Something like eighty percent of all cars in Kabul are taxis.....it costs 20 Afghani to go local trips (like 40 cents for you all). They are the most erratic drivers, it's all "me first".... if there is 15 feet of space on a road they'd manage to squeeze three cars in that space. It's crazy....


Bread and Beggars

There is a Dari saying that: "If there is only bread and onions, still have a happy face." Meaning: "Be content with such things as you have." The bread is a staple of their diets, along with rice and tea.

Here is a boy on his way home to the family from the market....

Beggars abound here. Everywhere you turn there are tiny little children selling everything from bracelets to chicklets to puppies. They will hound you 'gimme dollar gimme dollar' and occasionally throw in "gimme euros, gimme euros" if they decide we look European. You might think "aw, look this poor child is begging for money for his own food" and as soon as you give him anything you see him run back to the 'boss' and hand over the money. They are just pawns....

This is a boy we see most every day when we walk to work. He's always cleaning the sidewalks, keeping it as litter free as possible where our guards stand. He'll also 'clean' the sidewalk with water from the storm drain to minimize the dustyness. He always smiles and speaks to us in clear(ish) English, making an effort to be polite. He has never once asked us for anything.

You don't see that here. EVER. Jack and I give him money every two or three days. The adults here could learn a little of his work ethic.


BBQ, the wall and a grapevine.

June asked about the locals living on site, how did they eat or go to the bathroom? Well, they just squat whereever they want and go. Don't ever walk up to an afghan squatting on the ground, just sayin. For food, they dig a hole and make a fire and cook in that. They mix up a dough sort a like a pita bread. They don't eat much more than that except for some onions and potatoes. Remember that "home" to them is still not luxurious. Most of them have never had electricity. Ever.

From a party last week, this cat may not have realized how close it really was to dinner!

This is me and "Iffy",the civil construction manager, watching construction of the wall.

We're having a wall built around the perimiter of the camp, approximately 2.3 kilometers and from the ground to the top it's 2.5 meters tall. The stone masons (that we have to fight to keep out of sandals) plop down some mortor and put the stones from the local mountains on top. The final product is amazing.

This is a shot of the Market from when I first got here.. the chests and boxes are amazing....

Here's the back yard where we spend most of our Fridays after we go to the market. We can get some sun, barbeque, even light the fire pit. The humidity here is nonexistant so sometimes 70 feels cold.

This is the grapevine in the back yard.

We work Saturday through Thursday, Friday is the Holy Day here. Often we are limited in the places in town that we can go because of various situations ..... better safe than sorry. Our supply of movies and tv shows come from the market as most of the channels here are all Indian. We do get HBO in english but it's so heavily sensored or the times are so screwed up that we can't watch it anyway. We have gotten mostly boxed series at the market like Rome, The Wire, Dexter for dirt cheap.....20 bucks for Dexter and Rome (2 seasons each) and the Wire was 5 seasons but it was 30 bucks. These bootlegs can be totally crappy, you know, guy sitting in the movie theatre with a camera in his hand, but most of them are good. TV watching is most of my evenings, mixed in with Skype time with Jenny. My evening time is the best time for anyone to call me, from 10am to 1pm east coast time.... John and June you guys need to get a web-camera. All the cool kids are doing it.

I shouldn't have waited so long to get this up. It's just boring every day stuff to me now, but I'm glad you all are enjoying it.


.....Russians in Afghanistan

This is a local construction worker's tent. They dig a hole into the ground then put a tent over it... They would rather live on site than travel back and forth to work everyday.

This was taken back in February, it's a Russian tank that sits about 75 feet from the site boundary.

.....because you knew all about the Russians in Afghanistan, right?