that was my least pleasant of my band-e-amir visits to date. i was on the back of a pick-up truck with jumps designed to absorb much heavier loads, which meant i was bobbing around all over the backseat throughout the drive, the visibly improved conditions of the roads notwithstanding. we arrived and barely got out of the vehicles (all 50 of them – yes it was a bizzare affair) when a sudden spring rain set in and spoiled the afternoon, forcing everyone into whatever shelter they could get to, or into their vehicles. my favorite pin striped jacket – all wet and wrinkled and sorry looking. we must have spent a total of 30 minutes by the lakes. then the drive back: again the back seat, except that the return took twice the time of the drive to there – at least 4 hours. the rain had done its magic with the unique clay of qarghanatoo and shibartoo plateaus and our vehicles were careening left and right as if on ice, and it did not help when we got lost twice into the detours that are supposed to guide traffic around roads under construction, but often end up suddenly in dead ends in the middle of nowhere.
otherwise, the water was mighty fine as ever. i have been to the lakes four times before, and it never ceases to shock and amaze. i sat down with a group of locals huddled in what seemed like the only commercial setup which was selling matches, bescuits, unshelled peanuts, cigarettes, and a range of assorted non-food household goods in plastics that i did not pay attention to. i told them how secure the place was if i decided to visit alone or with my family and put myself up in one of the houses over yonder for a week. they seemed not to get the question. then one of them said: if anyone creates a mischief around here and bothers the tourits, whether domestic or khareji, we will slice off his ear and put it in the palm of his hand and pack him off. i wondered whether i should be worried or reassured. the sight of a man holding his bloodied ear in his palm did not help i think. still, before the drive back, the resolve to go back for a week of vacationing and life offline seemed solid. now, late into the night and back in bamyan town, tired and beat from the road, i cannot say.
but then again the sight of that brilliant azul water in the middle of all that greytone…


~ by safrang on May 21, 2010.

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