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Foods I Don't Like!

As usual I'm lazy and the last month has been at turns eventful and uneventful. I got to meet with the warlord from Kunar province, Malik Zarin, who had some clever proposals about reigning in the illegal timber industry. My copper project is progressing too and I really feel like I'm starting to know how to do things.

One of the latest challenges I've been facing is developing a questionnaire aimed at a report we're going to do on perceptions of NGOs. It's shot through with holes and I'm going to go over to Counterpart and work with Sahar on Wednesday, it turns out they're facing similar problems. It is fun doing the questionnaire in Farsi though.

I have also adjusted to the altitude here, especially as it concerns my ability to take in alcohol. I've been able to get properly drunk a few times here and I had a nice evening drinking with Nathan, Sahar, and Marina at the Gandomack last night.

And yes, I have discovered here that there are a lot of foods which can be just plain nasty. Chief amongst them are the feet of any hooved animal and kidneys. Cows' feet are nothing but pure rubbery gelatin cooked in an especially nasty gravy which rather hard chickpeas which give you the notion of chewing on bits of bone. Kidneys taste like warm, soft, metal. No furthern description necessary.

The last cool thing that comes to mind at the moment is Ashura. I've never been in a place where the Shiis really come out of the closet and celebrate but here you see all the black banners with red lettering lamenting Yazid's victory of Husayn at Karbala in Iraq. People even attach the banners to cars, which I think is bold given that Shiis are only 20% of the population. And you can see the results of the increasing anti-Shiism on the part of Sunnis. They say utterly stupid things and show a profound lack of understanding. It seems as if the ascension of Shiis in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran itself are bit too much for some people to bear.

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