Though doing that was never on my list of thing I need to accomplish... that shit gets checked off as of today!
Today started off like any normal training sortie. Again headed up into the safest province in this country for some navigation practice. One slight difference... this time we had a guy that is actually from the area where we will be landing. The guy hadn't been up to his tribal area in over ten years. That seemed like a good enough reason to stop and eat lunch there to me! I have found that lunch planning is the most important aspect of flight planning around here. (Probably in all aviation other wise Elington Field in TX wouldn't do as well as it does but that's another story.)
Anyways, we get to Bamyan and shut down the aircraft. The same tribal crew arrives to check out who is landing in their village. After all of the completely wacko social situations I have found myself in over the last 6 months... this hardly phases me at all now and I drop mad "Salaam Allah Khoms" to the village greeters like I have been doing it all my life.
This time, the governor is home... so we are invited to go meet her. I can't tell, but I think the guy that is from the area knows her as a friend, but it was hard to tell. Before we could go into her office we all had to drop and leave the ammo from our weapons... including him. Maybe she was just being careful, I imagine a female in charge of a provence would be a target around here. After a few minutes of talking in Dari (I just listened...) the governor ordered two police trucks to carry us where ever we needed. Obviously lunch!
We went to lunch. The food was Kababs, Kably Palao, Naan, apples, and coke-a-cola. Apparently coke has a good marketing department. Anyways, it was served goat grab style on the floor of some room in a hole in the wall of an alley. Literally! The food was great actually. I recommend that place to anyone that finds themselves in the central mountains of Afghanistan.
Conversation at lunch was kept light... in a way only Afghanistan can accomplish. The guy from the area told us that they had build a new bazar in the village because the Taliban had beheaded over 700 people in the old one in one day. Now the old bazar is uninhabitable because as he put it, "the dead don't sleep there." The sound of screaming and crying is still to loud in that area, not only can they still be heard, but the living absolutely can not spend the night there!
C.E. "Today, we not go there..."
Notorious "That works for me, I don't need to meet 700 screaming ghosts today."
C.E. "Hah ha ha! Mr Nick, Now we go collect the magic water! Hah ha ha ha!" (pulls a 5 gallon jug out of thin air)
Notorious "dude, where did you have that thing?"
C.E. "Need the water. Take home today. We go now."
Notorious "Lead the way man..." (I then must go first due to local etiquette)
Minutes later, I am in a Afghan National Police truck bouncing though the mountains on the way to the magic water. (It isn't even weird yet!) This is just a demo of how in third world driving style the horn can be used effectively as a break and steering wheel!
The music changes... (now it is starting to get weird)
We get to the spring/oracle... and find a truck driving around in the creek next to the outflow. I ask about the truck. (the magic water is good for vehicles too...) I guess it was obvious now that I think about it.
Anyways, there is a little stone hut built over the spring. You go into the hut through the hole that is covered buy the tiger blanket. Inside there is a stone shelf that you stand along. The rest of the floor of the hut is actually a pool. The excess water flows out to a creek where it is uses as preventative maintenance for trucks. I looked in there and honestly was a little apprehensive about taking off all my cloths and jumping in that water. The fact that there was about a thousand little fish looking up out of the pool at me didn't help.
The powers of the water are supposed to be something along the lines of a fountain of youth and "Oil of Olay (tm)." It is supposed to make your body younger by bathing in it, maybe cure leprosy, or at least get rid of wrinkles... maybe just pimples. I guess that's enough reason to try it out, why not. Besides, when again am I going to get to skinny dip in a fountain of youth in the remote mountains of central asia... Shit, what if it works!
Alright fish... out of the way.
Yipe! (cold mountain spring)
Ok, that's enough youth/anti wrinkle cream for me...
Lets head home... back into the trucks.
(in the interest of uploading, just play the first video again to simulate the trip back.)
After a short stop at the cemetery, we head back up to the air field and head back to Kabul.
"Land As Soon As Possible" type emergencies should be avoided if possible in this area...