N = Notorious, B = name of my Afghan co-pilot, Tower = Kabul Tower, -2 = the second aircraft of the formation
N: (Looking out the aircraft window as we return to the airfield) "Man, spring happens fast around here doesn't it?" (Confused look at me.) I try again in Dari this time, "Felan.. Kabul, bizyar nojew... sabs zute zute."
B: "Bali! Trees green... heh heh! Yes... now bizyar sabs!"
N: "Right... Hey, you think it's about time for a radio call?"
N: "Yes dude... YOU are control radio!" (I have found that using the words and syntax that they used with me actually gets the message across quicker than insisting on using correct English myself.)
B: "Yes yes, I am radio! I talking now... "Kabul Tower, Papa-Alpha-Sierra - 001, position Sierra-Wiskey, Inbound, landing Hotel.""
Tower: "Chi gufti? Kujasti?"
B: "Kabul Tower, Papa-Alpha-Sierra - 001, position Sierra-Wiskey, Inbound, landing Hotel."
Tower: . . .
(Looks to me confused?)
N: (I look back also confused) "Dude, your radio call was fine, I don't know what is going on... When did they teach the Belgians in the tower how to speak Dari?"
Tower: "Doo tiyara jurra, Chi gufti? Kujasti?"
N: "Well go ahead and answer..."
B: "Kabul Tower, Papa-Alpha-Sierra - 001, Doo tiyara kandaki riosate jambori, neshast mekonum Hotel taxiway."
Tower: "...Kandaki riosate jambori? Chi?"
B: "Bali, neshast mekonum."
Tower: "Mushkil neyst, neshast mekoni."
We land... despite the confusion...
As we taxi in past a noticeably large number of Hinds and Hips and some new hangers I don't remember, i realize that something is really really wrong.
N: "Chi hast?" I ask my copilot.
B: "Name famam!?!?"
I see a few guys walking along the edge of the ramp in some old soviet uniforms. Not unusual, the old dudes use them sort of like a status thing that they were a part of the old russian era, sort of like now how they wear US uniform articles when they get them to show their assosiation with the US military. I look back at "-2." They are taxiing right along with us like they should.
We turn into our parking spot. I look up at the tail of a nearby An-12.
A chill runs down by back like a razor filleting my spine...
The tail has freshly painted red Soviet tail flash.
My brain tries to come up with what could possibly be going on. My mind is in the forced calm when you realize that the next few moments are vital, and understanding what is happening around you is all that you should be doing.
I come up with a short list of two of the most reasonable options... Either A) we have been sent back in time, and we have inadvertently traveled to Kabul in 1978... (In which case I wish I had payed more attention to sports stats... maybe I will just invest in Microsoft in it's early days.) or B) we have been shot down and are now doomed join the aerial ghosts of Afghanistan and fly these canyons and valleys for ever.
Both of those options don't appeal to me actually. The time is now for quick action.
N: "-2, Do not shut down! Present possition departure!"
-2: ""-2"... Say again... please"
N: "Felan Barhost mekonum, inja! Amodi"
-2: "Chi? Bali, amodum."
We took off and retraced our route exactly backwards. I don't know if we were in the underworld of war slaughtered Afghanistan or just sent back in time a few decades... either way, the calenders say 2009 again. (1387 for the local made ones)
We will see if I make it back...