Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Where to go now?

I guess I have a kind of writer's block. Now I am back in the West, there isn't much I can say about Afghanistan. I’m not going back there any time soon, nor anywhere for that matter. I’m now on my fourth course of antibiotics in 6 weeks, probably breeding some super-bug, and not getting better real quick.

There seem to be a few readers who haven’t yet found my depressing brand of cynicism too awful, so to try to keep this superannuated blog alive a while longer, I will post a few journal excerpts.

This is from our second year in Afghanistan:

Sunday, 1 April.
April Fools day. Somewhere along the line, the Afghans in our office have got the hang of the fact that on April Fools Day, you play jokes on each other. However, what they haven’t worked out is the comical nature of the jokes. Safi came up at one point and looked sideways at me, muttering something. Then he came back, and cleared his throat portentously, and said, ‘Philip-jan, I have a message for you. Bruce-jan called from Peshawar. He won’t be back in tomorrow, but he will be delayed a few more days’.
Okay, I said, thanks Safi.
Then Safi’s face broke into a wide grin, then he burst out laughing, he bent forward and hugged me, saying, ‘I have tricked you! It is April Fool Day, no? And I played a trick on you!’
‘Ahh’, I said, ‘right, yes you did trick me. That’s very good Safi.’
Engineer’s joke wasn’t much better. He told me that he had heard on the radio that in the IAM office in Kabul, the gas had exploded and injured four people. Hadn’t I heard?
No, I said.
He repeated the story as we drove, then smiled tolerantly, and looking sideways at me, reminded me that it was April 1. I nodded, trying to look amused and ‘ohh, silly me’.


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