An Afghan cultural experience

In the five days I’ve been in Afghanistan I’ve collected a whole bag full of experiences.  These are experiences that the average Joe isn’t going to have:

  • Walking a mounted patrol with a crew of armed soldiers.
  • Riding in a armored person-moving vehicle with an attentive soldier in the gun turret
  • Walking out to a helicopter landing pad. 
  • Sleeping on an Army-issued cot at a base in Qalat. 
  • Hell, typing the word ‘Qalat’ can be classified as an experience most won’t have.  Try typing a ‘Q’ without automatically typing a ‘U’, not as easy at it should be.

Last night I experienced a small slice of Afghan culture.  Col Ahlness, Lt Col DeGier, Maj Wachenheim, Lt Fischer, and I were invited to share a meal with the group of Afghans that provides base security at the base I’m currently living at.  At 7pm we made our way to the area of the base the Afghan guards call home.  We entered a tent, unsure of what to expect.  There was a television on; on it was the Afghan version of “Deal of No Deal”.  Some things are universal.  If you remember that show you recall the contestant agonizing over pushing the button and taking the deal, you remember close ups of the contestant agonizing over which suitcase to select, you…okay I…remember the dozens of super hot models holding the suitcases.  Well, in Afghanistan it’s exactly the same…except for the pretty ladies.  “Deal or No Deal – Afghanistan” employs a bunch of professionally trained male suitcase holders.  No women.  Also, the host isn’t Howie Mandel, but it appeared to be someone who is equally as annoying.

But we didn’t go there to watch tv.  We were there to eat, and eat we did.  Flat bread, mutton kabobs, rice with Afghan raisins and carrots topped with goat.  We capped the meal with chai.  It was delicious.  It sure beat eating at the DFAC (dining facility).  I have no way of posting a picture right now; will do so when I can.

Today promises more that I will consider myself fortunate to be able to experience.  All’s well.  Thanks for reading…more later.