"Kabul - a city yet to be loved" Top 5 Page for this destination Kabul by Penelope4
Kabul Travel Guide: 139 reviews and 289 photos
"Holy Molly, you're going to Kabul!" - that was all a friend could say when I told her I was leaving.
I still can't believe that I've been working in Afghanistan since August 2005. It's something that I did not plan but my desire to be more useful brought me to where I am now.
The first time I saw Afghan women wearing burqas (in Kabul, women wear the blue dress which covers themselves that shows only their eyes and hands), I found it very surreal. Of course I've seen them on TV but because I did not have anybody who can stimulate me to discuss problems of countries I do not know, I did not think about them at all. I got very curious how to be in their shoes so I asked an Afghan colleague to buy me one and I can tell you this: Afghan women master a very good breathing technique!
I found out that Afghan women wear burqas for many reasons. If I were an Afghan, I would say the primary reason for wearing it is to protect my hair and face and skin from the dust. Those of you who haven't been to Afghanistan must know that the mountains in Afghanistan do not have trees and most of the roads are not cemented. So can you imagine what happens when the wind blows? Okay, before I go on and complain about my allergies that exacerbated while working here, let me mention the second reason I would consider if I were an Afghan. It is very expensive for men to get married in Afghanistan. It is a tradition to invite all relatives and friends to the wedding and the groom pays for everything. I do not know if you follow the logic (but I really do) when I say that financially deprived men like to stare at women and so women have to help them not to think badly of them, so they cover themselves and make themselves invinsible. What is the third reason, you may ask...Well I partly mentioned it but it has more to do with the religion of some so I will leave it. And by the way, I haven't worn my burqa outside my apartment.
I have learned a great deal about Afghanistan but I will let the experts do the talking. For reliable facts and figures, please google or read books on Afghanistan. I can only share what I have seen and experienced and not what happened before I came to Afghanistan.
So, I saw the women wearing burqas... I did not loathe them nor criticize them. I accepted from the beginning that I am in their country and the organization I am working for is there to help the Afghan people alleviate their standard of living and support them to have a government they wish to have. An Afghan woman has a choice to wear it or not to wear it. If her husband prohibits her from not wearing it and she does what she is told, that is not for me to comment on. If women protest and complain about wearing it and ask for "my" intervention, then I will do something. This will not happen, I tell you.
Where was I...I always get lost. Oh, I am still in Afghanistan (July 2009) and will be here at least until December 2009. How poor is this country you may ask. In Kabul, I have spoken and dealt with men who can not even read nor write. I have never seen so many men who lost their legs or arms in my entire life. Tourists or visitors should be conscious of the fact that Afghan people have gone through a lot and are mostly very poor, so they should not wear expensive jewelries when they go around. To go around with short clothings is a sign of disrespect to the dwellers.
Above is a proof that flowers have no problem blooming in Kabul. In summer, gardens are full of roses and weeds. Because of the topography, you can find beautiful landscapes.
The public markets are lively and full of people and goods. I have yet to take a photograph and post it here. You will not find a saleslady but salesmen. Women are accompanied by their sons or husband or male relative. There's so much traffic during peak hours (7:45-9:00 a.m., 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) particularly at the Jalalabad Road where you will not escape death should there be a suicide bombing.
The sight of mansions and ostentatious buildings makes you wonder who own them...
- Pros:Kabul yearns for development and peace.
- Cons:Kabul has experienced a lot of suicide bombings.
Turquoise Mountain intends to move to another location. As of this writing (31 March 2010), they are still in... more travel advice
Istalif Gallery has two shops in Chicken Street. They are frequented by diplomats and foreigners who keep coming back to... more travel advice
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Kabul Travel Guide
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- "The once magnificent city of Kabul"
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