Sunday, February 22, 2009

Barfing on my birthday

Nope, this isn't another post about Afghani-sickness.  I don't want to say that we've been healthy because I know as soon as I do my stomach will start to bubble.  But there are no sniffles or gurgles to report.

But still, it is barfing on my birthday; barf being the Dari word for snow.  Of course, this provides for endless giggles with the expat children (and sometimes the adults too).  We've had a very mild winter; it didn't barf at all until January.  We thought that we were on the upswing to spring, but it's barfed three times in the last three weeks.  And I have to say, Kabul is quite pleasant and beautiful when covered in a fresh layer of barf.

To keep warm we've been firing up the bukhari each night and throwing the kettle on top of it for tea.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And there was light!

And now for some great news from Kabul: 24 hour power, 7 days a week!  City Power is up and running. From the occasional 3 or 4 hours, 2 or 3 nights a week, this is quite the change.  Kabul has had little to no electricity for the last 16 years.  It's hard to imagine a city of 3 million plus people without power.  Many of my friends here cannot remember a time in their life where electricity was expected or normal.

It's been a month of steady electricity with an outage here and there.  Although there is still not enough power to light a whole house, reports are that within 3 months the electricity will be at a normal and functional level.

Of course, the first day City Power came we blew a fuse.  And of course, all the electricity stores are completely sold out of new breaker boxes and fuses.  So, we're still generator dependent for a few more days.  Can't wait to say goodbye to the loud, noisy, expensive, unreliable generator and hello to 24 hour power!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

You Owe Me Money!

Today I got a serious case of the hiccups at work.  We're talking 2 hours worth of hiccuping.  Our receptionist, Freshta, walked into my office and demanded the money I owed her.  I stared at her, a little baffled, and hiccuped again.  She laughed and said, "It didn't work!"  She proceeded to explain to me that the best way to get rid of hiccups is to distract the person or shock them.  Apparently, the Afghan remedy for hiccups is to demand money.  In a culture that has very strict guidelines for what is permissible to discuss in casual conversation, coming right out and asking for money is startling.  A less popular option is to swallow a teaspoon of salt.

In the course of the day, three other people asked me for the money I owed them and one guy asked for a salary raise (not sure if the last one was hiccup related).  None of these worked.  What finally got rid of them?  Too much petrol got in my bukhari heater.  The little explosion made me jump in my seat and scared the hiccups right out of me.