posting from bamyan-2

first thing this morning i get up to shoot the buddhas and the cliffs. the roof guesthouse has a perfect view and the sun comes up from behind, giving the cliffs a distinct glow in the early morning light. as soon as i step out of the guesthouse with the gear and the tripod mounted camera, i regret it. all the same i brave it for a good 20 minutes, all along telling myself that anything good has to come through privation and suffering and the like; and hopefully the photos will turn out ok.

*

but it is last night i should really tell you about. the room is cold as hell and it does not help that it is behind the compound where it gets no sunlight. the wood-fired bukhari is alright and warms a radius of one meter from it, but is no help unless you want to go to sleep just about hugging it. inexperienced in its use, i try stuffing it with more firewood. wrong idea. just as i am settling into my bed, the whole smoke pipe mechanism comes tumbling down, filling the entire room with hot, eye-watering, throat-choking, bitter, wet wood smoke. i use my newly bought woolen gloves to salvage the carpeting which is some sort of synthetic material and adds to the smoke and choke effect.
i realize at that moment how fires are really dangerous less for the fact that one might physically burn, and more for the fact that it can choke you to death, deprive you of oxygen, and blind you. i run to the window and open the glasses, only to see that it is blocked from the outside by plastic. i run back to the door barely able to breathe and open it, run into the interior space. did i say the generators are off which means there is no light. i run back in to find my phone, and it takes me 3 frantic back and fort running in and out of the room trying to breath and locate the phone. finally i open my laptop and use the screen as lighting to find the phone. and i call the housekeeper. he comes rubbing his eyes and probably cursing me under his breathe and takes the whole thing outside into the snow and tells me not to fill it up again. it is my turn to act the part of the indignant customer. it is a game of who acts more indignant now. he knows i have no other options in the way of guesthouses, i feel like i should tell him that customer is always right. but no complaints, really. the roof kids do a great job of keeping this place kicking all winter long and generally do it with good humor. we made up the morning after making silly jokes about it all.
finally, after a bizzare two hours, the excitement dies down and i can go back to bed. but who can sleep now? using the dying battery of the laptop to light up the room, i locate my dslr gear and go into the moonlight to shoot the buddhas in the dark. i love it. long exposures, up to 20 seconds or more, stars, cliffs, and the solemn buddhas watching over the valley. and cold to bite into your bones. it is 1.30 in the morning.

*
second thing in the morning (i started out this post with the first thing), we go to the dragon valley – darra-e-azhdar/azhdaha. after official business is taken care of, we get the fancy to go see the dragon hibernating. the vehicles give away halfway up the mountain and we start the climb. it is steep, and it is cold, and it is slippery business getting up to see the dragon on a december morning. last time i had been there was in mid summer of 2005. once i top, i am heaving and feeling as if my heart is about to fall out of my throat. then we walk from the tail to the tip and for the second time around i realize how long it is, and marvel at the natural rock formation, the long narrow slit on the back, the odds of how something like this came to be, and the legends surrounding it. and for the first time in my life i realize i may have vertigo and nearly panic. still, i go to the stream of water at the tip, wet my hands and run back, shoes filled with snow and throat aching from breathing in all that cold air (or from breathing in all that smoke the night before.)

*

somewhere along the way today, the driver mentions that if we want, we can go up to band-e-amir and if we thought it was beautiful in the summer, we should definitely see it in winter because it is manifold more beautiful. and that we cannot drive all the way, but that he can drive us up to kohi-kinak and from that point on he knows someone who can supply the four of us horses that will take us to the lake, which will be at least partly frozen at this time of the year. and since hearing this, the four of us have for once been praying for the flight on tuesday to be canceled to give us the right excuse for such once in a lifetime experience.

*

tomorrow, we plan to make a big bonfire behind the guesthouse facing the cliffs and the buddhas. if you don’t get a post titled ‘posting from bamyan-3’, you know where i will be. (and if you are ‘bamyani’ from the previous post’s comments and see a bonfire burning on the opposite hill from the buddhas, you are welcome to join in.)

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~ by safrang on December 6, 2009.

5 Responses to “posting from bamyan-2”

  1. This brings back so many memories (of failed attempts at making fire.. kidding)…be careful and enjoy. Hope the trip to Band-e-amir works out.

  2. Never been to Bamiyan, sadly. But gosh, have I been there with the bukhari issues.

    One time, I put so much wood in it that I thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion. It was an allnight sauna. And then the door got jammed b/c of the heat (and the cold hallway).

    Be careful!

  3. if you dont have a bukhari mishap you have not experienced being Afghan in winter, and so tough to be Afghan in winter.
    I myself had an adventure two nights ago, almost ruined my room, but we have to agree to one point, the heat and warmth bukhari brings is the best in the heat producing applicances.
    Enjoyed reading you as always.

  4. Your welcome everyone,
    My PC worked not correctly, too much errors. Help me, please to fix errors on my PC. Like a http://www.google.com/ please.
    My operation system is Windows XP.
    Thx,
    Affelewep

  5. Пищевая сода обладает прекрасным отбеливающим эффектом. Смешайте одинаковый объем соды и воды для получения кашеобразной массы. Вотрите полученную смесь в ногти и оставьте так ее на 30 минут. Такое продолжительное время требуется для наилучшего отбеливания. После процедуры смойте массу с рук теплой водой.

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