Thursday, March 01, 2007


Friday! Today is our "off" day here, which means we'll work a little bit but will be able to do some other things as well. There's a bazaar today at Camp Eggers at which locals sell their wares and we'll head over there as well as the American Embassey. The weather is nice here today, so it'll be a good day to be outside!

Yesterday a couple of us took a walk up to the grocery store and it was honestly about the highlight of my week! See, since we have the Blue H guys, we cannot go anywhere without an armed escort and because of the rules we have to follow concerning security, they are obligated to ensure our safety, which is why we typically drive everywhere. We're picked up and dropped off behind gates and walls and such whenever possible. Where not, they exit the vehicles first and scan the area before letting us out. So given the chance to take a stroll up the street was a welcome gift! Now, we didn't go unescorted. One of our Blue H guys went with us but I think he volunteered just so he could get a change of pace as well.

I'm excited about the break today. I'll get a chance to catch up on my journal and some reading that I've not had time for this week. Before I left the States, I was doing this Bible study of I Samual with some guys from church and I've not done anymore reading since I got here. Hopefully I'll be able to find a place outside on the patio to catch up on it while taking in some sunlight. Oh, we all went out last night with another contractor and you would not believe the night sky here. I went out Wednesday night as well to have dinner with some folks from ECC, Inc and their compound is located out near the airport so you get a really good view of the sky. It's neat because since we're on similar parallels, I get to see the same constellations as back home. It's a little comforting, to have something here that reminds one of home.

Okay, enough yammering.....onto the pictures!

Ralph & Jamison ready for our stroll

This is outside of the villa. Now, before you go thinking we're living the highlife here, remember -- this is our house and our office and there are about 15 people that live here presently.

Now you see why Ralph has on those boots! This is the street our villa is on.

Here's the little store just up the street from us with it's proud manager of the day! We didn't shop here today, but went to the larger which is on up the block, on a paved road.

Here are the children that "escorted" us to the store.

There's nothing like the smile of a child to brighten your day!

As I eludeded to earlier, here are the bread winners for the family. They were so happy about their new prizes that I couldn't resist this shot.

Here I am with them (notice the paved road).

Sunset in Kabul. I do not know the name of the feature shown, but I'm working to get an unclassified map of the area so I'll be able to tell you soon.

We are experiencing momentary, technical difficulties. Please stand by. Seriously, my laptop crashed just at the end of the workday today and I'm trying to remedy the problem. I have access to another unit, but it does not have all my files obviously so that may present a problem....ARGH!

Once I get the issue corrected, I'll post up some pictures from our walk to the market today. It was quite an enjoyable time and we got to meet some neighborhood children along the way who loved us taking pictures of them. Granted, they wanted a $1USD for each one, but we obliged. See, I'm told these partically children are the bread winners for their family since their father was injured in some fighting and lost a leg. Turns out, he's the guy I've seen around the block on the crutches!

Okay, well, pictures to follow soon. I promise. Tomorrow is a bazaar and half day work since Friday is like Sunday here. We'll be heading to the bazaar and while there I'll be able to pick up some local things to take home. Woo-hoo! I'll be the first in my family to have the Christmas shopping done this year!!!


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

We're now officially calling Kabul "KaBOOM"! Okay, not funny, I know but cut me some slack. Actually, the explosion you heard about on the news was at Bagram AFB which is about 1.5 hours north of Kabul. All's quiet in Big K today, another day for the markets to be open and people milling about.

In fact, for dinner, a few of us actually walked to dinner. It was only a block and a half through the mud and we still had the Blue H guys with us, but it was nice to get out and go for a stroll.

I now officially have a webcam, but my Yahoo messenger is not recognizing it. The computer finds it, but Yahoo doesn't, so I'm tinkering with that. I can also be reached by phone through Yahoo messenger, now. My ID is "gak2biker", so feel free to call me if you have Yahoo messenger too! It only costs me one cent / minute to call out, and nothing to receive, I think. Skype costs two cents / minute so look at the money I'm saving!! =)

Anyway, I'm off to bed. No new pictures to report. Today was all work. Catch ya tomorrow!

Monday, February 26, 2007


One of my friends just emailed some questions that I thought I'd answer quickly before turning in for the night. She said that our villa looks huge. Well, it kinda is! It's a 4 story place, one level just below ground with three others above ground. Our offices are on the below ground floor, along with two bedrooms and a storage room. Our security guys double up in the bedrooms down there. The security guys' main office is on our main floor with the living room, dining room, kitchen, 1 bath, and 1 bedroom. The 2nd floor, where we're at, has 5 bedrooms and the room I'm in sleeps two so 6 of us are here on the 2nd. There are 3 bathrooms on this floor as well. The 3rd floor I've only seen once, but I think there may be 2 bedrooms with baths, and 3 security guys.

In all, I believe there are at least 14 people that sleep in the villa, and we have three more coming in next week for a short time. There's a guard shack manned 24-7 outside the gate you see in the snowy picture, and to the left inside the wall is another security hut where a couple guys stay. Needless to say, we're well covered with guards!

Now, the area of town we're in is obviously not the same as what you see in the pictures I've posted. The villas around us are pretty similar to ours in size. The Spanish Embassy is just around the corner, and the house being built next to us is valued at like $500k - $1M USD. Definitely NOT par for the course in Kabul, but at least there is money coming into the economy, which bodes well for the city and country.

From here on, I'll likely refer to our security force as Blue H to make it easier, at least for me. Okay, off to bed. 8:00 am meeting with the Army and ya can't be late to those things!



More pics...

Sunrise over the villa up the street from us.

Which of these do you use? Yes, that's a porcelein hole in the floor with foot pads so you can do the one hung low squat! Um....the only time I want to do THAT is in the woods, not in my house.

Moving on....sorry these are not clearer but it was very overcast and snowing today. Plus, these were taken from a moving vehicle...

The morning commute. I'll NEVER complain about my commute in Atlanta again. This is incredible and beyond words. Cars, pedestrians, kids selling things, people on bikes -- all on the street on a mission. There are no lines on the road to seperate lanes. There are no rules of passing except to honk then floor it. It's so crazy, that our driver this morning bumped a guy walking to get him to move. The ex-pats here that drive are told not to stop if they hit someone or run over them or are in an accident. A mob will form and you'll stand no chance against them. It's just THAT crazy!

A bike shop (you knew I'd fine these!)

Typical street scene

"if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either." II Thessalonians 3:10

Amidst the poverty and ruins, the people work. In fact, they realized that a 5 day work week was not enough to get their economy rolling and to restore the country so they are now on a 6 day work week.

I wish I could share more of my pictures, but I'm getting a little frusatrated with loading them on the blog tonight. The blog site is not cooperating and I've spent the better part of 2 hours just getting these up. It's getting late here and I still have some work to do before morning. I'll try to get the pictures transferred to a photo sharing site sometime soon so you can see them all.


Snowy Monday in Big K. This pic was taken from the balcony outside my room on the 2nd floor of our villa. You can see the muddy streets and the walls that help keep the bad things out.

Here are a few more pictures from move in day...

The room Jamison and I are sharing

The hallway outside our room, 2nd floor of 4

Since I'm having some trouble loading pics, I'm going to close this thread out and start another with some shots from today's excursion.