Afghanistan courtship rituals and foreigners


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Asia » Afghanistan
November 7th 2004
Published: November 7th 2004
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I thought I'd just write about some minor things, conversations I've had in the last couple of days, which I find very interesting and will certainly forget to write about if I don't now.
Last time I wrote I was headed off to my first bastion of Western culture in Afghanistan. I love Afghanistan because it's certainly the country that's retained it's culture more than any other I've visited.
I met a guy yesterday who mistook me for a German he met a couple of months ago. He showed me around the city, but most interestingly he told me about Afghan dating. It's amazing how un-free you are to do what you want here. As we would walk, he would point to a girl and say, 'ohh, she's very beautiful.' and all I could see was a blue burqa. I'd ask him how he knew she wasn't a 60 year old toothless woman, and he'd say 'I went to a wedding 6 months ago where I saw her unveiled, and I can recognize the way she walks.' which was amazing to me.
He told me about his girlfriend, who he thought he recognized by her gait, but was mistaken. He converses with girls, but without looking at them. We were walking along and seeming to look off into space he spoke several sentences and a one girl in a cluster of burqas replied. He told me he was just chatting with her.
His girlfriend he can only see in cover of darkness, because if anyone sees them, it would be a scandle. But they are only talking.
He estimated to me that about half of the women in urban Afghanistan are prostitutes. He also told me that all men sleep with prostitutes before they are married, and many after they are married, and this doesn't seem at all immoral to him.
We talked about suicide, and he told me that his neighbor committed suicide because his father refused to allow him to marry a woman he loved, because her family was much richer than his family. Seems crazy to me.
So I went to the German restaurant which was really a joy for me, with American music, a sirloin steak with potatoes and chips, and two beers, topped with a slice of black forest cake. You don't know what a luxury that was, and how helpful in curing whatever homesickness I might have. It was a big budget expenditure, close to twenty dollars, but I have been so under budget with the 2 dollar hotels, and Afghans constantly giving me food and gifts that I was easily able to afford it and stay in budget. About half way through my meal a bunch of fat Americans came in to help further help me not miss America. They were all carrying state of the art assault rifles and looking very paranoid. I spoke with them, and when I told them I was a tourist, they were absolutely incredulous. (Note: They came from the states of Texas, Virginia, Vermont... but mostly Texas) They asked questions like 'Why would you possibly want to come here?' and then made loud, obnoxious jokes about my intelligence when I commented that I found the Afghan people to be very kind and hospitable and the countryside to be very beautiful. I decided to dine alone instead of eatting with them, but I was able to overhear their conversations about how wasted they'd gotten in all the various places in Afghanistan. These were private security contractors hired by the US government at enormous wages, who really don't like Afghanistan but are able to make loads and loads of money training the police officers here and doing other governmental work. I don't have to wonder anymore why the Afghans want the Americans out of their country.
I've been told by a lot of Afghanis that they have seen many foreigners, but that they don't like them because they are always afraid and mistrustful of Afghan people, and probably some of the greatest compliments I've ever recieved is that I'm exactly the opposite. But don't let this post make you think that I'm not having a great time... it's just sobering to meet people who are so ignorant of the culture of the country they are living in, and so unwilling to learn. I'm leaving today to Mazar-e-Sharif, and looking forward to the big BIG city, the first major city I'll have visited in about a month.

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2nd February 2006

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2nd February 2006

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6th October 2006

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what we talkin bout
21st November 2008

thx
im doin a report on afghanistan, and im very happy to have found this. its very interesting:)

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