Travel Journals

Earthquakes, and Car Crashes, and Wedding Dresses, Oh My!


Still kicking here in Kabul, though the days continue to provide no end to adventure and at times some rather interesting drama!

On the dramatic end, we had an earthquake (minor) a couple of nights ago after we had returned to our guesthouse at dark. I was sitting in my room on my bed doing some writing and things started shaking about. It went on for about 6-7 seconds, but I don’t think did any damage. (Not that you'd really be able to tell around here! : )

Drama #2 involved a bit of a car accident yesterday as we were driving home from an event celebrating Women’s Day (we just missed seeing President Karzai speak!) Traffic in Kabul is just hellacious, with no lane markers and plenty of round-abouts that are complete chaos with vehicles, people on foot, hand-pulled carts, beggars, donkeys, and street sellers coming from all directions. We were waiting to turn left in front of the craziness and got smacked on the side by a military-looking jeep that didn't stop. (Apparently the brakes failed.) The worst part was knowing it was going to happen... I saw it coming: he was going too fast, it was raining, the streets were wet, the laws of physics still apply...

I was next to the window on the side of the van that got hit and got quite a jolt. Nasty headache from hitting the glass, and some sore vertebras and neck, but I think all is okay. The ones of us on that side got the worst of it, and I’m just grateful it was as minor as it was. No bullets, no blood, no mines, no one carted off to the hospital, no loss of life, the other driver accepted full fault (I guess they don’t have left-turn yield laws here!) I'm just relieved it was a jeep and not one of the big buses or trucks! Ah yes...

On a brighter note, today was sunny and the mountains are full of snow and lovely. We visited a rehabilitation (arts and crafts) center for street children that serves 10,000 kids (!), went to an orphanage where I handed out my baby quilts from the Pike Place Market lady, and had an amazing lunch in some secure compound with 10+ ladies who were generals, a local Supreme Court judge, and various other high-powered gals. What an experience!

We also got a little time to visit a market and I tried on an absolutely exquisite traditional Afghani wedding dress. It was purple and pink and green silk with silver embroidery and mirrors and a matching scarf. Crazy expensive for here, and I didn't end up buying it, but we’ll have to see what other opportunities unfold. I may come home with it yet! It was quite extraordinary.

I’m nearly out of time here on email as the machines are so slow it's hard to do more than about one message in an hour. Thanks for your continued prayers and good thoughts!

Much love,