I just had one of the most surreal conversations of my life. I was on Google Talk videochatting with a friend in Kabul, Afghanistan. He’s running a TV station there.
It was as if I was in his office visiting. People walked in and out. He took a couple of phone calls (there is cell service in Kabul and he carries an iPhone).
On one call he spoke to someone who would be driving over. My friend described the locale and the traffic he’d experienced today. In Kabul you try your best to avoid traffic lest you get ambushed.
We’re only a few hours past the incident at the Intercontinental Hotel. It scared him. He doesn’t scare easily.
“No longer part of the chain,” he said referring to the hotel as it was pre-attack. It lost its affiliation years ago, but in Afghanistan it’s tough to force someone to remove your name from their hotel.
Pretty much everything is tough to do in Afghanistan.
My friend held a piece of paper in front of the camera. It was embossed stationery from the Intercontinental Hotel. He received this invitation hours before the attack for an affair scheduled on Sunday. I’m guessing it’s been canceled for now.
The Afghan citizens worry about these attacks as much as ex-pats like my friend. It’s a dangerous place.
As I listened he went about his daily life treating these major threats as inconveniences, no more. His on-the-phone traffic report was delivered matter of factly.
I can’t imagine.
My friend is the consummate ex-pat. He’s been ‘the’ American everywhere. Kabul is just another stop. At one point he wanted to live in Switzerland. Now I think he’d prefer Dubai.
He spoke with the wife of the American ambassador yesterday. “It’s the world capitol of peace and love,” she joked.
I guess you have to be there.