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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bamiyan in the Autumn

November 12, 2011, 3:31 pm

Text and photos by Lai Yung Sun

I went on a business trip to Bamiyan and stayed at the "Roof of the Bamiyan Hotel" overlooking the Bamiyan Buddha complex. When I registered my name, the guy who was in charge, Javed, asked me whether I came by chartered helicopter. I said I came by road and he was quite surprised.

He told me that I am a brave man. I said to the contrary, I am a stupid Karji (foreigner) and he laughed loudly and shook my hand with me with great enthusiasm. He said with some sadness in his voice that "now we don’t get any foreign guests, at least they don’t travel by road due to the dangerous security situation."

I told Javed "it is those who take this journey by road who will really understand Afghanistan and see the beauty and smell the nature."

Javed nodded and said "balay balay (yes yes.)"

The distance is 109 miles (174 Km) the trip took eight hours. This will tell you the condition of the road. Honestly there were no roads but dirt tracks and we got lost a few times because there was hardly the trace of a road but open space and the Kohi Baba mountains in front of us.

I feel very privileged to see all this. There are many foreigners who never left their high security homes and hardly moved out of Kabul (not even seen Kabul properly after five years). It is a shame that so much beauty is never seen.

This is my second trip to Bamiyan. It was very dangerous, especially to go through Taliban country. I was dressed like an Afghan and I looked like a Hazara. Nobody gave me a second look, as long as I did not open my mouth.

The pictures show a different side of Afghanistan - the Afghanistan seen through my eyes.

(The writer works for an American company in Afghanistan as country representative and project manager)

SUN ISLAND

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