Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Back in the saddle - well, in a swivel chair anyway

I am back in Afghanistan. It is good to be back, but hell, I have a lot of work which has been piling up over the last couple of months, and I don’t know where to start – so a quick blog entry might not be a bad thing.

I stopped over at Dubai on the way to Kabul, and sat around smoking a narghile and drinking strong coffee till about 2am before going to check in. Rather than being allowed to check in quietly and sit back down to write my diary and read the scintillating Islamic Aesthetics, by Oliver Leaman, I found that my name was not on the passenger list, despite my receiving a very unambiguous confirmation email from our office a couple of days before. The Syrian check-in clerks did not have anything to say to me and about 10 other people in the same boat. Ahh – dear incompetent Ariana… the retarded younger sibling in the family of national airlines. They had obviously been selling tickets from several different offices at once, and no wonder now that the plane was full and we passengers did not exist. After playing dumb for a bit and shouting for a bit, I eventually got onto the plane by getting upgraded to 1st class for the bargain price of $50 - thankyou to the young contractor who lent me the money in exchange for a British cheque (… If you are reading… I am sorry I never got your name or contact details as it sounds as if you have a terribly boring life confined to a compound on the airfield, laying fibre optic cables – I feel I could have jollied things up for you by visiting and giving you thrilling accounts of life on the outside. Ah well… you are sure to be getting paid around 10 times what I am, so that must be a consolation.)

As a result of my all-nighter, I spent yesterday severely bamboozled, trying to come up with an action plan for the next few weeks, but instead coming up with a rather paltry list of things to do such as ‘get hair cut’, ‘get laptop back’.

It’s good to be back though – particularly considering no one is kidnapped at the moment. It was a great relief for everyone here when the Italian woman at care was released. It all makes me rather keen to get out of Kabul and back to my base in Mazar. It has to be said though, but for the always unstable areas in the south and east, security does seem to be almost exactly as it was last year. Things are hotting up a little due to the September parliamentary elections, but nothing too worrying so far. Fingers crossed.

OK. Back to work then. I will try and load up some photos soon, as the site is looking a little dull nowadays.

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