Jokerday

The lake has dried down to a half of its existence and we’re walking on the shore. Our hands take up stones to let them flip over the water. We try to stay warm. It is december. Not the tourist season time. Not even in Kabul.

There are plattforms to sit on and overlook the lake. All of them deserted. The shops have closed down, the owners are gone. Just one seller sits close by to the swan-boats that usually take the people who have gone out here for a sunday drive leisurely over the lake (which takes place here on Fridays as that’s THE day off in Afghanistan). This is a summer destination, an escape for Kabul’s city dwellers who come out here for regeneration before they get thrown into the city’s hectic buzz again.

Today I’m off with the boys. A bunch of afghan boys in my age whom I have gotten to know through a mutual american friend who had worked with them. They are trustworthy and even fun to be around. We crack jokes, drive around the lake in a speedboat, hands outstretched in the wind and go to the only open place to smoke a shisha. And they don’t make advances towards me -which is rare here and I really don’t speak here about the Afghans, but would rather say that the male dominated expat scene is ennerving…-

Going out of the city is like finally being able to breath. And this I mean in a double sense. On the one hand Kabul is a polluted city with too many cars and a dust that overtrumps even the car exhaust fumes in the way it overcoats your lungs. But there is another stickyness in the city which is created inbetween the unstable security situation and a lack of places for leisure time. There are nearly no places to take a walk, no benches to sit under trees or take a rest from the honking streetlife that keeps yelling in your face. The shelters of in a city which is restlessly moving in its undercurrent, seem to be some cafes, then houses and workplaces. But who wants to be all the time walled in and locked up? Doesn’t the mind stop reaching out if put into an environment that limits the sight and the ability to look out, to wander around and explore?

Lake Qargha is just 9km away from Kabul, a water reservoir that sits right next to a deserted plane which is used as a golf course. The golf course doesn’t have grene grass to play on, but it has an ambitious man who keeps it running. Here’s a little documentation about him: it’s worth a click and a read. (By the way, ‘Kabul at work’ is a documentation project to show the faces of the city’s inhabitants, made by Davil Gill)…

The lake might be more beautiful in summer time though I suspect it to be overcrowded due it being close to Kabul in that time. In winter it’s calm, and spaceous, and leaves room to walk, to breath and to think…all of which seems rare otherwise in dear Kabulistan…

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Filed under English, Kabulistan, Out of Kabul, people, Surrounding

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