Monday, April 6, 2009
Well, I did get to take a convoy to Kabul, to pick up a VIP and yet another reporter. I didn't get to interact with the city at all, but at least I got to ride through it. Kabul and its outskirts are blessed with an abundance of mud, which is still used to build houses all over this country. The roads we drove on were pretty well maintained, but one would expect this since they link the military bases - bad roads make it easier for bad things to happen to us, and with 75% of the casualties in this war now coming from IEDs, making the investment in the roads seems like a win/win. I got to see a few young ladies out and about without the traditional garb. Nice. The men were mostly dressed in the traditional way, but Western clothers were fairly common as well. Most everyone seemed friendly as I got a good number of waves, thumbs up, and smiles, most of which were initiated by the Afghans not me, which was all a nice change from the sullen stares I often get back east. Certainly plenty of other traffic was about, but they kept their distance from us, which made the ride nicer for me since I was tail gunner. As for the traffic itself, it was really pretty normal stuff with some bicycles and motorbikes mixed in with the cars and trucks, with the exception of the intermittent donkey-drawn carriage. The driving was even pretty tame with minimal chaos at the large roundabouts. I'd heard the people burn tires at night to stay warm so I was expecting bad smells, but only in a couple of areas was it really that bad.