Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Kabul Wall

Last week, we went on a one and half hour hike along the Kabul wall, which provides majestic views of the city in the valley below. Kabul is surrounded by mountains and its residents seem to have filled every square inch of the valley with buildings and houses -- most of them made of mud and thatch, which is why the city looks brown from above.

Note that I'm properly dressed -- bum covered with my long bittersweet brown blouse -- even for a hike. It was a warm day, but I kept the black scarf so that I could cover my hair when we descended into neighborhoods.
Along the way, we passed boys bringing water to their home. Donkeys are a common sight in Kabul, even on the streets below. Young boys and men will ride a donkey, urging it along with little kicks of their heels. Many homes lack plumbing and water, so Kabulis have to walk good distances to get their water supply.
Our roommate joined us on the hike, but stopped along the route to take photos... or was she knackered from too many cigarettes?
You cannot see it too clearly here, but we were disturbed to see Kabul covered by a thick, mucky haze. Sure, cars are always driving through a thick cloud of dust -- kind of like Pigpen on Charlie Brown -- and everything in our house is covered in a layer of dust despite Landry's weekly vacuum-cleaning raids.
As we descended into the valley again, we entered neighborhoods where more children did their daily chore of fetching water. Kids come from all the houses with their plastic buckets to the neighborhood source, where they pump the water. They then lug the buckets home -- with a donkey's help, if they're lucky.

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