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Rickpops’s Travel Diary

Friday, 03 Aug 2012

Location: USA

MapFinally uploaded some photos to the webpage. Most places are a little sensitive about taking pictures for security reasons but i think these are all safe. My living conditions in Kabul are 100% better than Iraq, as I said I have my own room, bathroom, TV, big bed, I may not have lost much in terms of square footage from my place in Alexandria. Kabul itself is a lot like Baghdad, very dirty, dusty, old, worn down, but in Iraq I came home to more dusty, dirty containers, most of the time with a roomate. Here it really is like a little village, nice to have small patches of grass and flowers, and they do their best to keep the dirt/dust down.

The other pictures i have are out the car window on the way to work. Its about a 4 mile drive, Kabul doesnt have many paved roads, and I say paved but the potholes are just enormous. There are no "lanes" for you to drive in, there is a median that separates heading north or south, but on either side of the median its literally a free for all. And just for kicks, if one direction is backed up(which happens at rush hour) vehicles on the other side cross the median and just start driving on the wrong side of the road, coming at you.

I use the term vehicle loosely, its lots of beat up cars, lots of military armored SUVs, and then just a mix of anything with wheels. Motorcycles with three wheels, donkeys and cars, tons of bikes with loads of crap stacked on the back, small VW buses literally PACKED with people, doors wide open and people hanging out. Between the no lanes, driving the wrong way, swerving to avoid potholes and the mix of wheeled vehicles, I tried to think of the best way to describe driving to work. Its like that old 1980s Burt Reynolds movie, Canonball Run, just line up whatever piece of crap rolling contraption you have, and just take off! No rules to follow, no right/wrong side of road, NO traffic signals, just a total free for all.

The worst site i saw, a man with no legs, in some type of wheel chair contraption, on the road. Only he wasnt rolling the wheels with his hands, he had a bike pedal contraption up on his lap that he is turning, its connected to the wheels below, and hes tooling on down the paved road with all the other contraptions. Absolutely takes some getting used to, thank god we have drivers, but there is never a dull moment going to or from work, always lots to see outside the windows.

I think NYC is the masters degree of aggressive driving, but Kabul is your Doctorate.

Have a great day,
rick