Armored car spa

When I told the spa ladies that there would be three more visits they pulled out all the stops: a pedicure, a manicure (wasted on me, a nail biter), a massage and a facial. I spent hours in the backroom and kitchen of the armored vehicle sales office.

With a little over 4 weeks to go I am starting to give away things I don’t want to bring back to the US. For Lisa and her staff I packed up some massage oils that Axel had bought but which I can’t really use on myself, plus some nail polish and tiger balm, unopened since we returned from India. In return she filled the Starbucks bag I had carried the goodies in with goodies from her spa – a facial cleaner, anti-wrinkle cream, lip gloss and skin cream.

For lunch I joined my reporter friends from India at the Wakhan Café and was able to hook them up with contacts for their upcoming trip to tell a story about maternal health in Badakhshan. We also talked about the emphasis on sustainability from the new leadership in the US compound and how healthcare is supposed to pay for itself as the US government contribution will be drastically reduced in the coming years. It will be very turbulent and risky.

I returned to Chicken Street, as if the Steve fever had infected me after he had gone. I bought the last of the items requested by Sita and then returned home to join her on Skype with a facilitator couple she had run into who, like me, trying to connect people to each other by more congenial workshop, conference and event designs. They are part of a group of like-minded individuals who don’t think that powerpoint presentations by experts are helpful to connect systems to themselves. That conversation made me realize how I miss having a professional support network within reach.

While I was finishing my dinner the landlord showed up with wives, children, mothers and what not. The guard had asked my permission to let him in and I agreed but decided not to come out to greet him and his entourage. They poked around the garden and inspected the pears, apples and grapes. The women walked up onto the terrace and pressed their noses to the glass to peek inside my living room – it was rather intrusive. I tried to ignore them and decided to hold firm on not meeting them as my dislike was instantaneous. The whole family consisted of overweight people, confirming a stereotype of fat landlords who are riding the wave of foreigners who are colluding in distorting the local economy. Not only is he making a killing on the rent (over 2000 dollars a month for a house that probably fetched 90 dollars a month during Taliban time) but we have also improved the place quite nicely, so the next renter can be charged even more.

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