Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Unfortunately, the weather is the most interesting thing that has happened in my life this week. It started snowing late morning on Saturday and didn't stop until this morning. Now, being from Syracuse, it takes a lot to impress me as far as snow is concerned. That said, I can't remember the first snow of the season lasting for three straight days - and I'm from the snowiest city in the continental US.
The Salang pass was officially closed for about 36 hours after an avalanche killed 3 people and wounded 8 others. Now traffic is only allowed to pass in one direction - North to South at the moment. As the winter continues the direction will vary, one day northbound traffic can pass, and the next day southbound. Except, of course, when the pass is totally closed. People die on that treacherous road every year from the cold, the icy roads, avalanches and from exhaust fumes in the tunnel. . .
Betsy and one of our consultants were both supposed to leave Kabul for the US Saturday afternoon. They are both still here because the weather shut down the airport. Betsy re-booked her flight for Sunday and poor John is going to have to drive from Kabul to Peshawar, then fly to Lahore and then fly to Delhi to pick up his flight home. Ugh. The airport has become a total nightmare because most of the flights leaving Kabul are pretty booked because of the holiday season - this means that people who's flights were cancelled are stuck on long standby lists. Ariana and Kam Air don't really have the extra planes available to schedule extra flights, so everyone is stuck. Speaking of Ariana, I heard a funny story about their airline:
Betsy was flying from Kabul to Dubai, and as the plane was taking off she noticed that passengers were talking on their cell phones. Now, Betsy worked in the airline industry for 20+ years, so she called the flight attendant over and said something along the lines of, "Um, I'm pretty sure that cell phones and other electronic equipment disturb the plane's radar system. Isn't this a problem?"
To which the flight attendant replied, "Oh no, it's no problem - we don't have that technology on these planes."
So basically, if the pilots can't physically see the mountains (which completely surround Kabul) they can't fly. . .
On a more personal note, this week has been full of ups and downs. I'm still waiting for my contract to be approved by headquarters, so I'm not 100% sure that I'm staying. Everyone is stressed at work, which is tiring when you live and work with the same people. The snow has been beautiful, but the office is COLD, and I hate the cold. I've also been feeling lonely lately. I don't have any female friends here around my age, and while the guys are great, a little variety would be nice. . . I did finish a big project that I've been working on for the last two months, which feels awesome! I have a big deadline for USAID tomorrow, but I feel confident I'll get it done on time. And, my relationship with the Gender Advisor seems to be on the upswing, which certainly makes my life easier.
at 9:02 AM