Juma is something of a slow day.  That's the holy day in these parts if you have not caught on, and it lands one what we call "Friday".  It can be painfully slow if you are not able to find someone to take you around the city, like we were fortunately enough to do.  The fellow who did was apparently also bored, but it is to our benefit because he is also energetic and knowlegable.

First we went around cleaning up on some unfinished photography business.  We had to get photographs of our most remembered things.  On the bright side I collected my Beautiful Trucks, but we also needed to capture some of the most powerful images of what happened, or else how can we ever explain what we see here.

I will not show them here, as most of us have seen the pictures of the rubble.  I photographed the ones I wanted... the frayed monument, the stacked buses, the bread factory and a few others.  We even saw the Olympic Stadium, which is too painful for anyone to see at all.  They are all stiking, but I will show this one...


This picture is not so dire.  Most people in Kabul seem to live on the mountain side, but this cluster of homes is particularly dense.

Hill houses
If Ilived in these houses, I would swing between my rooms on ropes and go to the street using a pully.  Actually, it's not easy living on the hillside..  There are no wells up there, so all water must be carried.  Some people live quite high.  No, they do not have animals either.

Unfinished business was only a small part.  It was a good trip.  We went past the city center and mondee market again.  This time we didn't stop.  But it was a great run as we picked up new friends...

Can you see my bike bub?
We were riding along the river beside some young cyclists who were most friendly and opportunistic about getting their photograph taken.  Especially my bub right there circled in red.  He saw the camera I had with me and frantically signaled me to use it on him.  Unfortunately, my camera was slow, and these are the best I can do...

We are a bike gang

We rode along with him quite some time.  When we stopped to film the cinema he caught up with us again, but as usual I was too slow.  If we caught him again, I was going to ask for his name.  But we he recognized me for a bretheren cycle enthusiast so we will always be in eachothers hearts forever.  There are many of my biking brethren to be found (alas few sisters), such this fellow...

My other bike brother

He accosted us when we were in a side street and hammed it up.  He was with others, but alas, I am a lousy photographer.
We headed out to a lake just outside the city.  It was the first time I was able to get out of Kabul.  The lake seems to have been created artificially, but if it was, it was a pretty long time ago (particularly in Afghanistan years).  During the time of the Taliban the entire thing was dry, and even if it was, I don't think picnicing there would have been an activity smiled upon.  But yesterday, people were having fun.  Whole families showed up in big packed vans.  Well, that's not the whole picture.  Truth is, most people there were men.  Nearly all the people who went to the water front were men and zero women were in the water.  But people were kicking back, and it seemed pretty happy.

Lake from the crowded side

The  lake is overlooked by beautiful compounds that obviously belong to the reigning Commander.  Along the route here is some kind of base and an lot of abandoned tanks and armoured vehicles.

We drove all the way around it, and I even topped to get out and  feel the water with my hands.  There were tons of frogs around to catch and release.

The future of Kabul

This photograph is from the other side of the lake.  It is a small lake.  But what you are seeing is what will one day be Kabul, literally.  The low structures that look like walls are future walls.  They are soft bricks pulled from the mud and stacked there to dry.  Eventually, they will be taken somewhere to be baked, and eventually will be made in to something people can hopefully live in.

The last picture I have is more sombre.


Mostly green flags mark the areas where there are cemetaries.  This is one on the hillside by the lake.  I do not know how  old it is.  Oddly, there are some cemetaries randomly place within the city itself.  Some are quite old indeed.  I do not know about the others.

One the way down from the lake, I noticed a fence by the road side.  The fence had posts with red signs written in Dari and a skill and cross bones printed above it.  The fence enclosed a very wide area, stretching almost as far back as some farms a way off.  In the grass, I could see small white markers sticking up in and orderly, grid like pattern.  There are so many mines.  I didn't remember to stop and take a picture.