Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy New Year!

Let me explain. Tomorrow is the start of Solar Year 1388, the New Year for Afghans and Iranians. The Persian calendar uses a Solar year that starts on the Equinox. Many other Muslim countries use the Hijri calendar calculated on lunar cycles beginning with the Hijra, Mohammed's emmigration to Medina (16 July 622 CE on the Gregorian calendar).

Since a lunar-based year is 11 to 12 days shorter than a solar-based year, the Islamic New Year moves in relation to the Gregorian calendar. The Islamic New Year began on 29 December 2008. So we are in 1430 AH if following the Islamic calendar.

This all causes some difficulties in this part of the world. However, more and more many of these countries are using the Gregorian calendar for business and government, while reserving the Islamic calendar for religious observance. In Afghanistan, they use the Solar Year for offical purposes. It can get confusing at times.

Hey, but it's cool to say you've lived in the 14th, 15th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Sorta nice having the New Year coincide with spring though. Today is a beautiful sunny day, temperatures in the 60's. So for today, here's a bunch of Kabul in springtime people on the street pictures.

Old woman and younger woman out shopping.

Don't try this at home! This woman is a professional.

Travelling onion salesman. No, not the horse.
The guy at the back of the cart.

Nut shopping. The streets are full of them. I mean the kind you eat!

Grimly forward we go to do battle with the merchants.

Hanging out on the curb.

Mom and girl.

Just a guy.

Gretel and the witch.
"Would you like to come to my cottage little girl?

Granny in white.

Now what did I come to market for?

College girls walking home.

Balancing Act.
Dad's positioning the kids on a bike.
It's hard to tell from this smaller image, but both kids have green eyes.

Dad/grandpa walking the kids home from the park.

These next two pictures fall under the category of "giving lie to."
Or, stupid things bigotted Gringos say.

One guy I know said that Afghans are emotionally stunted because they don't get to play with dolls. As a result they have no imagination.
Hmm, seems like this travelling doll salesman chose the wrong job then.

I rode through town the other day with a Gringo who was most assuredly whupped up side the head with an ugly stick as a baby. I heard him remark, "There's nothing but ugly women here. This town has no pretty girls." Of course he's only been driving through town for a few days...he's new. Pissed me off because our driver, who pretends he doesn't speak English, was sitting next to him. I took this picture within seconds of his stupid comment. Pardon me, but anyone who thinks the young woman on the right is ugly, needs his head examined.


momcat said...

I saw one of our local ladies balancing a computer screen on her head the other day!

Nuts! Maybe the other kind too!

I was just thinking that nobody looks very happy that its Spring except the pretty girl in the last photo with the only smile I saw on the whole bunch.

Vodka Mom said...

those shots are amazing! YOu know how I LOVE your field trips. And yes, that woman is GORGEOUS.

be safe.......

The Muse said...

Hey J.L!

I think the guy needs to have his head examined. Perhaps the attire masks beauty for him.

As usual your pictures are incredible.

Happy New Year!

Hope you have a nice weekend.

Take care!

Charles Gramlich said...

A ridiculous statment that all the women are ugly there. What an idiot. There are all kinds of levels of attractiveness on display in your photos.

HoodChick said...

The college girls didn't seem too happy to have their photo's taken.

That lady is lovely, and the others have character. I would not say any were ugly.

And I love that witches broom!

Henry the Dog's Mum said...

Another interesting post and fabulous photos. As vodka mum safe. Henry & I often think about you over there, a different world, I feel as if we live in a safe bubble at the side of people like you.

preTzel said...

I know some pretty ugly American women. Men may think they are hot and want to get them but if you cut the beyotches open you'd see their ugliness. Methinks your friend needs new glasses. :)

Joe said...

Great work as always John, I enjoy keeping tabs on your exploits.

We celebrate the Chinese New Year, which nicely breaks up the monotony of late winter, and ensures a chance for a great meal, fun and games, and cash for the kids. New Year is a great time in most cultures, a bit overshadowed in the West being too close to Christmas.

Joe said...

...oh, and the last lady is a babe...if she were president she'd be Babraham Lincoln. ;-)

Sunny said...

I didn't know about this calendar. Thanks for your campaign against illiteracy :)

The girls of Afganistan are beautiful judging by the photographs you have been posting all these months, so the boy has to put on his glasses and observe :)

What a wonderful reportage photographique!

take care,

J. L. Krueger said...

Actually dad/grandpa was smiling too. I don't think it's any worse than people walking along busy streets in any large city.

Vodka Mom,
Thanks, I never get tired of seeing new things.

I thought it particularly ironic that a really ugly guy would comment about anyone else being ugly.

I quite agree. The physical may either be amplified or damped by what's inside and what's inside is the most important measure of a person.

Hood Chick,
The college girls actually didn't see me. The shot was taken at a distance with a 300mm zoom lens.

Henry the Dog's Mum,
Thanks again. Being here makes me appreciate what we have in the West.

He ain't my "friend" dear. What he really needs is a major attitude adjustment.

Yeah I think that having New Year so close to Christmas diminishes the whole concept. Yes, there are so many "babes" here, it's amazing! More so because they all seem to have an incredible quiet dignity about them.

Thanks. The toughest thing is that since life here is so hard, people (men and women) age fast.

The other day my two younger interpreters (they are in their early 20s) were shocked to discover than I'm five years older than my oldest interpreter (who looks like he's about 65 but is really only 47).

Barbara Martin said...

Loved the Gretel and the witch photo.

Happy New Year! J.L., take care of yourself and be safe.