Sunday, December 28, 2008

Almost a New Year!

All quiet here in the big city. So, as we transition to the New Year, here are some more street shots and a couple nicer scenery shots. I'll let the pictures speak about the yucky inversions that occur in Kabul this time of year. Most people heat their homes by burning wood and old tires. They use wood and charcoal for cooking. This can have some bad effects. Lung ailments are common here.

On clear day the views can be spectacular.
Old ruins on the south end of Kabul.
The Hindu Kush (literally the Indian Killer) to the west.

This fortress south of the zoo is home to the noon gun.
In better times the cannon fired at noon.
This is similar to the one o'clock gun in Edinburgh, Scotland.

If you look closely, you might see the mountains in the distance.
They are not obscured by fog or dust, but by smoke.
A disadvantage of relying on wood and old tires for heat,
is the pollution. Remember that Kabul is in a "bowl."
While the surrounding mountains shield from the worst weather,
they also trap the smoke during inversions.

It's usually worse earlier in the morning.

On a really bad day it reaches up to Darulaman Palace.
I took this shot at a distance of about 200 meters.
The smoke almost totally obscures the palace.

On a better day, a bad immitation of Micky Mouse
advertises for an ice cream shop.

Afghanistan has a literacy rate of only about 20%.
And yet there is hunger for books. In some households,
the parents buy the books for the more literate
children to read outloud at home.

This book vendor has two carts, the one in the previous picture
and this one. The most common titles are English/Dari dictionaries
and English phrase books.
Only a handful the books on these carts are fiction.

A white ninja!
Supposedly nicer than a black ninja.
She does have incredible eyes!

I Love Kabul!
Me too!
Gotta get me one of them stickers!


Simplicity said...

Burning old tires for!

The history of this beautiful place is astounding!

20% literacy...not due to lack of want, I'm sure!

Thank you for showing us these photos...

Anonymous said...

Tire burning / I didn't know that either. Can't believe the amount of smoke!!! Must be really bad for your lungs.

Do you protect yourself against it with something.

Charles Gramlich said...

Egads, tire smoke is horrible for the lungs. I don't know if I could even stand to go out in that. I love those pics of the ruins, though.

Anonymous said...

Those photos are incredible. Your blog is very educational for a westerner like me who has to rely mainly on what I read in the news. Protect your lungs - I was once in Kuala Lumpur where the pollution is terrible too (but mainly fumes from vehicles) and my hubby's asthma was horrendous for months after. We really don't know how lucky we are over here. Love your blog.

Barbara Martin said...

I expect by the time you receive this comment, J.L., it will already be the New Year where you are. All the best for happy, healthy and good writing. Happy New Year, and take care.

J. L. Krueger said...


I keep thinking that a nuclear power plant would go a long way to eliminating the pollution and would ease many other pressing issues.


You see a lot of coughing in this town.


You see a lot of surgical masks around town. Those who can't acquire one, use other means to cover their faces. It isn't uncommon to see people walking holding a folded handkerchief over their face.


I too have asthma, but surprisingly I'm actually doing better than at home. Mine seems to be triggered more by pollens than anything else.


Thanks and Happy New Year to you too! Ditto on writing.

Clare2e said...

Great pictures. I love seeing the mountains and that book cart! People here, flooded with more printed media than they could ever want, often don't realize how scarce it can be in other places. Go-Go Kabul readers!

Have a Happy, Healthy New Year and keep it coming!

Vodka Mom said...

That is incredible!

Thanks for the shots...and, as always, be safe!

Happy New year.