The hotel in which we are staying is located on the top of a hill, so we have a terrific view of Kabul.
It appears the city is still sleeping, but we know that people wake up really early and that the traffic is unbearable at any hour of the day.
After breakfast the group splits: Beppe, Giannino, Filippo and Stefania have some paperwork to fill, while Silvano, Stack, Niko, Roberto and Enrico after filling up the vehicles with fuel, repairing a tire of the Amarok and “stolen” a few pictures of the hotel (bombarded 2 years ago) go to the city.
The first group goes to the Italian embassy where they are welcomed with warmth and joy! For our Giannino it’s like coming back home: he served, as a soldier, here many years ago, so he’s catching up with some old friends and colleagues. Watching them being surprised, joyful, happy to see each other after all this time, make us shed a tear.
But now we have a meeting with Claudio Martinello and Ugo Ferrero, two Italian diplomats. They share their point of view on the actual situation of the nation, on this never ending civil war that has been going on for the past 15 years, and on the work they’re doing, which is incredible.
We’re about to leave the embassy with the promise to come back for more interviews, when we get an invitation from Giannino’s friend for dinner on Thursday evening, to eat PIZZA! How can we say no?!?! We leave with a huge smile upon our faces, and we go to the Pakistani embassy to get the Visa for our next destination. We speak with someone in charge that tell us that it’s not easy to get the touristic Visa in such a short time (especially if you’re coming from Afghanistan), but since he’s very excited about our project he will do everything he can to speed up the procedure. Fingers crossed!
We are back behind the wheels, stuck in traffic! It’s a bit annoying but at least we get a glimpse of this strange and particular city. On one side soldiers on tanks, military helicopters, and on the other side people trying to live a normal life in a country bend by war and poverty: the streets are crowded with some people begging for money, others trying to sell vegetables, fruits, dresses, and any kind of items.
Fear, terror and crime are almost invisible. When we got off the cars to get new sim cards, we kind of got unnoticed (if it wasn’t for Stefania’s blond hair coming out from the veil), and we watch how people seem to live their day, like nothing bad ever happened: old people playing cards, kids getting back home holding hands, women going groceries’ shopping, friends that walk around, laugh and have fun…
At the exact same time, the other half of the team goes to the Bazaar in Kabul: a huge market that spreads all over the city, where any kind of items is placed without a specific order and where the smell of street food inebriates the streets. A bite of food here and there, we bought some keffiyeh (as a souvenir), and then straight to the Gardens of Babur: an historic park on top of one of the hills surrounding the city and buried spot of the first emperor Moghul.
Getting inside this park is like getting out of the city and the war: there’s a peaceful surreal atmosphere! This gardens are also known as the garden’s of Love, a kind of St. Valentine park: here lovers meet on their first dates, or to propose to their girlfriends. It is also the favorite place for families to go on the weekends and have picnics, BBQ and spend a lovely day all together.
It’s evening when we finally get together in the hotel telling each other how our day went.
Tonight we have dinner here and tomorrow we leave for Panjshir.