Earthquake waking and Mardi Gras

28 02 2010

The final of the TM Shrove Tuesday pancake race

I was woken by someone rocking my bed and walking on the roof shortly before 4am this morning. The Bokari stove rattle made me think they were serious but after a while the rocking stopped and i realised it was an earthquake. At only 5.7 richter and over a hundred miles from Kabul this is only remarkable because it’s the first one I’ve noticed since I’ve been here. Nothing compared to the Chilean monster but ‘moderate’ was enough to stop me getting back to sleep, especially as I slept through the bomb blast of Friday morning, only a mile away.

To keep us busy we held a Shrove Tuesday pancake race around the fort with strategically placed string hurdles to toss the pancake over. It wasn’t the most stylish event that Turquoise Mountain have held but the dog didn’t go hungry. We have plans to do these competitive events more often, unfortunately the burka dash and stripping and reassembling the guards’ AK-47 guns have so far been vetoed.

With US Ambassador Ikenberry at the Mardi Gras Ball

The previous weekend was the Mardi Gras Ball at the US Embassy which was a laugh just to see what the cooped up Embassy staff get up to when they let their hair down. I’ve not seen any pictures of unusual drinking antics but apparently there were fights after we left and the staff aren’t allowed to have guests around for a while!

Following the deliberate attacks on internationals one would think that the local police might ease off on hassling foreigners for a few days however my passport’s at the Indian consulate for a Visas so twice I’ve spent over half an hour waiting at a checkpoint to see how long they’ll take to break. This time it was my driver’s uncle who called from the Home Ministry to get us sent on our way. Generally the police are a nuisance and a threat with or without guns, driving aggressively forcing all other travellers out of their way. Most amusing is the piles of shopping in the back as they race home with blue lights flashing.

Duncan DJ

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