So I’m here again and as always my first few days here have been eventful; I came up this morning and my room (stinky as it is) was decidedly more pungent, and this time with a distinct smell of burning. I entered the bathroom which is ensuite to my room and puzzled as to where the dreadful acrid smell was coming from. In the corner the plug which powers the water heater for the shower was sparking furiously; slightly perturbed I thought “ best not touch it” and went downstairs to tell Lyle that there was a bit of a problem. Downstairs I found Saabi who trotted upstairs with me and promptly switched it off at the wall. Saabi then tried to pull the plug from the socket but was surprised when the plug came apart in his hand; the top coming cleanly off to reveal a burnt out interior, smoking and badly charred.
Later, I am here in my room drying my hair with the hairdryer when all the lights go out, strangely though the hairdryer continues to work and I blithely carry on with my beautification, with just a side thought to the fact that I probably ought to turn off the hairdryer in case we are in a ‘siege situation’ and the boys are shouting for me to hide or escape. I carry on…. The room stays black, my hair gets drier and nothing else happens…. So I write my blog. The computer is still on too and I sit at my desk in the pitch black, too lazy even to light a candle or to grab my head torch from my back pack.
Earlier, we ventured out on to Tapa hill, a low rise hill compared to the mountains surrounding Kabul. The hill is the home of the crazy swimming pool that was used by the Taliban for executions. The swimming pool; empty of water, it is used by the various youth of Kabul as a hang-out joint. Of course there are no girls but loads of children and young Afghan men milling, walking, chatting. The swimming pool is a nice one, but it seems like an odd thing to find on a hill high above Kabul, like it was lifted and dropped from outer space. It has three diving platforms and would have been perfect for swimming laps. It is a spooky entity – knowing that many people died here in truly horrid circumstances. There is talk of reopening the pool but I’m not sure I’d want to swim in it, like swimming in the memory of someone else’s suffering. We take pictures and film the kids, they love seeing themselves on the digital camera. There is a big and impressive Sag Jangi (Afghan fighting dog) sat with his owners. This fierce creature sits regally surveying the lands below from his vantage point on the hillside.
...Aaah the lights return and I am thrust back into the light, my rather smart flick knife lies beside the computer, also on the table are my juicy tubes lipbalm and a butterfly candle holder, a tactical dry bag full of DV tapes next to my makeup bag full of eyeshadow and mascara. Just for a moment I am struck by my curious boy/girl existence; I've a wardrobe full of someone else's (large) military beige clothing, a massive broken TV set, a precarious and possibly lethal bathroom, and enough shaving foam to last me for months.