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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Afghanistan (1)

Finally, I took some pictures from here in Afghanistan. Nothing special because I'm limited to what I can see nearby. Hopefully, I can return here in the future as a tourist when it's safer. Anyway, the mountains in the pictures are quite majestic with those in the background being around 20,000 feet. We are living at 7,000 feet in Kabul as it is. 42 days to go.

http://picasaweb.google.com/mccoy4984/Afghanistan1

Budapest (October 2006) Part 3

Here are the final pictures from the Hungary trip in 2006. I enjoyed the trip but it was definitely a different atmosphere from my life in Slovakia. Hungary is a nice place to visit, but I'm not sure I'd want to live there. You can see the pictures at the link below.

http://picasaweb.google.com/mccoy4984/BudapestOctober2006Part3

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Budapest (October 2006) Part 2

I got distracted from this trip due to my impending trip to Afghanistan. Anyway, here are some more pics mostly of the downtown area. The next time I post some pictures, I'll show you some of the countryside.

http://picasaweb.google.com/mccoy4984/BudapestOctober2006Part2

Gender Relations!

I had an interesting thing happen this week. I was told I was having a visitor in one of my classes, an Afghan translator. What I didn't know was that the translator was a woman. Having lived in Saudi Arabia for several years, I never expected to meet a woman under such conditions in a conservative Muslim country. I didn't know whether/how to speak to her. Anyway, in the end, everything went well and the male trainees acted normally around her. Just another example of how Afghanistan is changing as of late.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another Exciting Weekend in Afghanistan

Yes, AF is a dangerous place and people certainly die over here. However, my biggest fear is dying from boredom. For security reasons, I can't leave the compound. Supposedly, we have TV but I can't recall it ever working. Really, there's nothing at all to do here besides work. On a more upbeat note, I really enjoy the Afghans I've been around. They're very polite, accomodating, and even fun-loving. Still, I can detect, for lack of a better word, a certain wildness in their character. I suspect that if they like you, they would defend you to the death. If they didn't, they would probably do the opposite. It's a shame I can't get out and meet more of them.

As I said, another exciting weekend in AF.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Angkor Wat (2)

Here are some more pics from Cambodia and the temple complex. The first picture is a story of a battle carved out of stone. The fourth picture shows someone using a rope to climb down temple steps. Believe me, the rope was necessary because the steps were so narrow that normal-sized people could not use them.

http://picasaweb.google.com/mccoy4984/AngkorWat2

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Angkor Wat (1)

Here are some pictures from the Angkor Wat temple complex taken in early 2005. Although we think of it as being one temple, it's actually several temples spread out over a city-size area. I'll include pictures of several other structures over the next few weeks.

http://picasaweb.google.com/mccoy4984/AngkorWat1

More Happenings!

A little more excitement today that I won't go into. Just let me say, that I didn't have to go into work which was a bit of a break. I'm a little disappointed in my stay here so far because I haven't been able to take any decent pictures. I hope to take some in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Day After . . .

Well, things are back to normal here after an exciting day yesterday. Apparently, the blast was the worst since 2001 and the government is blaming Pakistani elements for the explosion. Hopefully, this is the last time something like this will happen at least while I'm here. Keep checking in.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Car Bomb in Kabul!!

This morning, a car bomb exploded outside the Indian embassy in Kabul. According to the most recent news reports, 41 have already died and 141 were injured. There will probably be more deaths over time. Anyway, I'm okay and things seem to be normal where I'm at. I can't overreact to what happens over here (nor should anyone else) or I'll be upset all the time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two Weeks In . . .

Okay, I've been in AF for two weeks and have gained some insight into what I'm dealing with here. Let me take it by topic:

The Climate

As soon as I arrived, I caught a cold and a nasty one at that. One of my colleagues predicted this and gave me a bunch of Nyquil and Sudafed on my first day. When I asked him how he knew I would be sick, he said that everyone gets sick from the 'fecal matter' in the air. After hearing that, I had to ask for clarification. He told me the farmers plow up their fields and this throws particles into the air.

The People

I have been immensely impressed with the people. They are extremely outgoing, helpful, and kind although you can sense a little wildness in their nature. Michener describes the Afghans as friendly at the first meeting but deceitful and cruel in later encounters. I have yet to see the latter.

The Country

Not much to report here since I'm only allowed off the base under certain circumstances because of the danger factor. Hopefully, I'll have more to report in the future

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Travelogue Slovakia (14) Salt Museum Part 2

Some more pics from the Salt Museum Tour. It was quite tiring and refreshments were necessary as you can see in the last picture.

http://picasaweb.google.com/mccoy4984/TravelogueSlovakia14SaltMuseumPart2