Monday, August 31, 2009


We assumed that the consumer juggernaut that is Dubai would not be strictly observing the Ramadan fast while we were there this weekend.  We were wrong.  Every cafe, restaurant, coffee shop, and fast food chain is closed until 6:30 PM during the holy month.  Well, almost.  There are a few places that are open, but it all feels a little sneaky and shady.  Walking to the back alley entrance of the severely overcrowded Lime Street Cafe, following signs reading "Open during Ramadan!" that took us down flights of stairs and behind a dividing wall into a cute French cafe; as Anna L. would say, dark.  

Strangely, a few places in mall food courts were open.  We bought a shawarma at a Turkish place, handed over in a stapled shut to go bag.  Our options were to get a $10 taxi back to our hotel, eat in the bathroom at the mall, or sneak our food into matinee of Funny People.  The movie was good, the food was sinfully delicious. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Election Day!

We were all psyched up for election day.  To be honest, we weren't really worried.  Everyone expected that there would be some explosions and unrest in different parts of the country, and regrettably this was true.  However, in our neighborhood it was extremely quiet.  We enjoyed a relax weekend of sleeping in and drinking lattes on the porch.

From Election Day

The question was asked, "If the majority of Afghans cannot read, how do they read the ballots?"  Great question Dynamic ladies!  It is quite true that the literacy rate in Afghanistan is very low, making voting very difficult for the majority of the country.  To solve this issue, each candidate is assigned a logo which is advertised on all of their campaign posters.  Logos are simple and recognizable; teapots, wheat, motorcycles.  When voters went to the poll, their ballots had the name of the candidates with corresponding logos.  Thus solving the illiteracy issue.

From Election Day

We are still awaiting the results of the elections.  With over 40 candidates, no winner will be declared unless a candidate wins over 50% of the vote.  If there is no majority winner, a run off election will be held in October.  And in the midst of all the claims of fraud, it's predicted that a clear and valid winner won't be determined for quiet awhile.  An initial pronouncement stated that Karzai (the incumbent) was leading by a hair in the 10% of the votes that have been counted.  Both Karzai and the other lead contender, Abdullah Abdullah (nope, not a typo), have already declared themselves winners with the majority of the vote.  But for now, we'll just have to wait and see.

From Election Day

For me, one of the greatest things about election day was seeing the indelible ink on the fingers of friends.  I was encouraged that all the Afghan women I have talked to in the last two weeks had purple finger nails they showed off with pride.

From Election Day