"Kabul - a city yet to be loved" Top 5 Page for this destination Kabul by Penelope4

Kabul Travel Guide: 139 reviews and 289 photos

Penelope is working in Kabul!

"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.

How are the people of Kabul?

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.

What else can you see in Kabul aside from the poor

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 and Cons
  • Pros:Kabul yearns for development and peace.
  • Cons:Kabul has experienced a lot of suicide bombings.
  • Last visit to Kabul: Jul 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (20)

Comments (10)

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2012 at 4:37 AM

    Thanks for the glimpse of your life as an expat! Love the picture with the sunflower :-)

  • Delia_Madalina's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2010 at 3:44 AM

    After reading several novels portraying life in Kabul, it was a pleasure going through your tips; they're very personal, insightful and useful. I hope I can follow them one day.

  • iaint's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2010 at 1:52 AM

    I've run out of oatmeal! Can only get it in Edinburgh. No energy as a result!

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Very interesting page, thanks!

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2010 at 2:22 AM

    OH wow, you leave soon. Safe journey to wherever you are going :-))

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2010 at 5:59 AM

    Great Kabul travel page with excellent travel tips especially on restaurants, hotels & accommodations. Thanks for the virtual tour. ~ho & pang

  • yellowbell's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    An interesting and sad story about Kabul. Very proud of your work to help the poor. Take care.

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2009 at 9:45 PM

    Not really going there, but interesting to read about it...LOL

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2009 at 9:33 PM

    Enjoyed reading your Kabul tips.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2009 at 10:19 PM

    Thanks for your good tips about that mysterious country.... Good luck in the future!

Penelope4 Used To Live Here!


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