OP on small hill

OP on small hill

While we were working on the Observation Post (OP) camera at a location in Afghanistan, the camera on the other OP crapped out. Oh joy, another climb up a steep hill, luckily much shorter than the other OP. I was so tired by this point in the day, any climb was going to kill me. I made it up to the OP and helped Dennis get on the roof, not an easy task. Myself and a couple of the Afghan soldiers held a rickety table on uneven, rocky ground so he could stand on it and boost himself onto the roof.

Merhabib and me on OP

Merhabib and me on OP

The motor had frozen up, so we needed a new camera. It so happens that I had found one in the box I the Class 4 yard. Not being on the roof, I was elected to go back down and get the camera. I couldn’t wait to climb back up with the camera, which weighs around 40 pounds at least. Down I went, where I emptied out my backpack and headed over to the Class 4 yard and my favorite wooden box. I managed to get the camera into my pack, strapped it on and headed back to the OP. I sure hope the camera works, no way of telling until we install it. Yes, I was dead when I made it back to the top, it was blazing hot.

Dennis got the new camera installed and it worked. Job complete.  I asked for a picture of one of the soldiers and they were happy to oblige. One of them, named Merhabib, had an incredible weapon. I am not sure it was an AK variant or what.

Merkula and me enjoying chai and flat bread

Merkula and me enjoying chai and flat bread

They then offered us chai and homemade flat bread. I wasn’t sure what or where the milk came from, but I wasn’t going to pass up the chance. The Afghan flat bread is incredibly good. I have heard it is made by throwing the dough on the wall of a Tandoor type oven, usually wood fired. Or, it could have been made in a frying pan over a fire. These soldiers did their own cooking and used wood fire and propane burners, depending on what they were making, they use lots of rice and fresh vegetables. The flat bread is charred in places and this adds to the taste. When fresh, it is very soft; it gets harder as time goes on like any bread without preservatives. Please, you can keep your Wonder bread substance from the US grocery store. The chai was really good, the tea was strong and there was a lot of milk and sugar, so it was pretty sweet and super-hot. There were hints of spices, but can’t put my finger on what they were, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, a combination, I wish I knew for sure.

Peacoks struting its stuff

Peacoks struting its stuff

If that were not a fitting and enjoyable end to a long, hard day, there was more. We came back down from the OP and into the Afghan compound. The smells of their cooking dinner were ambrosia, but I didn’t get any of that, unfortunately. They did have a big pen with a male and a few female peacocks. One of the soldiers had told us there were peacocks here, in a cage because the US soldiers wanted to shoot them. The Afghanis have quite a fierce reputation, but they appreciate beauty in animals and gardens. You have to wonder about anyone wanting to shoot a peacock rather than enjoy it. That reminds me of a story about a US soldier who spent thousands of dollars shipping an Afghan dog home because British soldiers were going to shoot it. I don’t think that US soldier would have shot a peacock. In any case, the Afghanis caged the birds and took care of them. The male was in full strut, feathers fanned, making noise and shaking its tail feathers while the wings were fanned. It was a beautiful sight.


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