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!