Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Travels in Afghanistan

Oxblog has some good stuff from the area around Mazar-e Sharif. Those interested in either the situation in Afghanistan or remote parts of the world in general will definitely want to check it out. Here's a cut:

"As we drove up toward the gleaming peaks, we had to stop a couple times to remove the dust filters from our straining vehicles and have them blown out by a roadside vendor with a compressed air canister. The air grew cold, and patches of snow began to appear at the roadside. At the top of a series of steep switchbacks, we drove into our first avalanche gallery -- a length of road roofed over so it won't be blocked by falling snow. These long galleries are dark to begin with, and the dust kicked up inside them swirls around without ever quite settling... except in the flooded ones, where the snowmelt pours in overhead like a carwash and fills the deep gouges in the road surface. Our drivers sped blindly through the dust clouds and subterranean rivers, dodging the sluggish, wheezing oil trucks and passenger-packed Toyota Corollas, sending up great plumes of muddy water as our vehicles plowed through flooded nine-inch potholes. It was like a particularly manic amusement park ride, with the amusement somewhat tempered by mortal fear."


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