More from Larry in Kabul. Here's his first Friday (Afghanistan being a Muslim country, Friday is like Sunday).
One thing I don't think I've mentioned: Larry is an experienced international consultant who's been around the world any number of times, and who has lived and worked in some odd corners of the world. So if he says that the food is tasty or the roads are bad, it's a judgment based on broad experience -- the food probably is tasty and the roads likely are, in fact, quite bad.
One of the complaints by the Americans here is that the rules seem to change from week to week. Last week, if you showed a NATO country passport, you could visit the flea market. This week, you had to have an escort if you didn't work on the base. You were required to wear a badge to walk on the premises to the market but then remove the badge in the market. A military contractor who arrived from Orlando a few days ago volunteered to escort us. I chatted with him a little bit. He indicated that he had been going through some personal things back home and decided to come toto put some distance between him and his old life. A rather extreme approach. He was thinking about signing up for another year. I have met a number of people who left here and swore they would never return but have returned.
MORE ON RULES: Only certain restaurants are allowed for dining. There is a particular place where the staff here loves the cappucino and croissants but that restaurant has been removed from the approved list. You are allowed to do point-to-point shopping. So, my colleagues go to the restaurant with their own takeout cups and get the cappucino and croissants to go since they are "buying coffee and bread" and not dining at the restaurant. When there's a will ... I am learning that there are creature comforts here. Two colleagues went to the Kabul Health Club today for a manicure and pedicure.
WEATHER: I was cold the first night in my basement room and slept under two blankets. I couldn't believe it. Everyone says it has been unusually cool until now. So far, it's mid-50s F at night. The weather is starting to heat up and will be hot soon. It was pretty hot at the market. (BTW, Dubai was 96F when I landed at.) The sun rises here at .
KABUL: I have seen some interesting fortifications and mosques from a distance in Kabul but I can't say I have seen anything beautiful. The mountains surrounding the city are brown and barren looking. The city itself is quite poor. Roads are dirt and there are open sewers, septic tanks and drainage channels. More detail to come.
BLEEPIN' TELEMARKETERS: I went to bed atand forgot to turn off my US phone. It rang at and it was Kitchen Magic. I couldn't fall back asleep and was up the rest of the night.