Zarnegar Park


I did some correspondence blog-to-blog when I ran across a posting with photos of Zarnegar Park from the ’70s. Here’s the way things looked the first two times I was in Afghanistan;

I’m not sure it’s possible to get photos from the same place as the ones that ‘Afghanistan On My Mind’ used but I hope to get some shots from a place where it is possible to see the before and after layout. The Adbul Rahman Khan Mausoleum (above) might be the only identifiable element after forty years.

My favorite photos from my one day of photo activity on the grounds are of some of the groundskeepers. Like most other (male) Afghans they wanted to have their picture taken. They must have recognized that they were good subjects for the camera.



More Cake

March was indeed cake month. The cake here followed closely on the heels of the one commemorating the arrival of the bundle of equipment needed to continue our work for the community television stations. This one celebrated the start of work on rebuilding the Salam Watandar partner station in Sayed Abad, as noted in the Pashto inscription.

In the last two days of the month I was to encounter five more cakes at other events. I’m ready to switch to es kacang, flan, or anything other than cake.

The Shar-e Nau bakery could use this photo to promote their products. This cake was really good.

Associated Press Captures Kabul Winter

This Associated Press photo gets high marks from me. This is a look down Darul Aman Road about the time of the opening of this session of National Assembly, 23 January. None of the hallmarks of a country recovering from war, the barricades and high concrete walls, show up in this winter land scene. The photo is ready for use by the Kabul Tourism office.

The image also reminds me how nice it is to have put away my winter jacket now that all the snow has left. I am told that this winter was unusually cold. I had not seen snow in Afghanistan before. My earlier trips happened in the middle of the summer.

سال نومبا رک – Sal-e Naw Mubarak

The closest approximation to today’s holiday for those of us from the West is New Year. Nowruz is thought to date back to the time of Zoroaster. But then, historians do not agree on what time that might have been. Intelligent estimates differ by over a score of centuries. Nowruz has been a holiday longer than most others. The date is on – or is just one or the other side of – the vernal equinox.

The NATO crowd over at ISAF Headquarters recognized the day with some fireworks just after midnight. That’s not the traditional way to commemorate this Persian-origin holiday but Iran is not currently a NATO member.

The greeting below came to everyone at work.

 Welcome to 1391

Everybody Loves Cake

Even though we could not verify that the long-awaited critical items had arrived in Kabul, we had anticipated the celebratory cake. Armed with several other reasons for a cake . . . a staff birthday and public holidays in the next week, we purchased the cake.

Television antenna shaped cakes had no appeal. The final choice was a standard cake with an old advertising slogan from the manufacturer of the cameras that were in the shipment. I might be the only one that recalled the “no baloney” phrase from Sony’s Walkman-era ad campaign.

The cake was very tasty and we are working on a reason for another cake as soon as possible.

180 Degrees Apart

In 2010 I found out that I was living on the opposite side of the world from one of the world’s most amazing places . . Bamiyan. Not opposite as in a line through the center of the earth but opposite along 34.5 degrees North Latitude.

Prescott (Arizona) is about 112.46 degrees West and Bamiyan is 67.5 degrees East.