Bokaris and skiing plans for the winter

19 10 2009
European and Russian influences on 19th Century woodcarving, Peacock House

European and Russian influences on 19th Century woodcarving, Peacock House

So as President Karzai comes to terms with facing a run-off I’m looking for things to keep me busy over the winter. One thing is certain – it will be cold and anywhere from 3-5 months of the harsher weather will stop outdoor building work on site all together. We are planning to make the most of the completed rooms and basements by setting up carpentry and mason workshops to continue making building parts inside. We’ll get the lime pits filled up and the wood burners (bokaras) stoked all day.

I have heard that skiing is a good option and even read that not only did Afghanistan have a ski resort at Argandhi but that a warlord planned to build another. The Salang pass is fairly accessible and I hear Rory Stewart, who set up Turquoise Mountain used to get his driver to drop him at the top and then pick him up 3 hours later at the edge of the snowline. The mines are only an issue if the snow is shallow or you’re going too slow.

By all accounts President Karzai isn’t too happy about being forced into a second election by the Electoral Complaints Commission’s findings that hundreds of thousands of votes were fraudulent, potentially as many as 1 in 4. You’d think that a 55 % to 28 % margin from the first election is enough to be confident of a win but bulk voting, where a whole tribe will vote as instructed by their leaders, could shift the balance if the fraud was as serious as investigations have shown.

Duncan DJ