We had lot of discussions on which places we could visit in Afghanistan this trip being in all probability the last one for us to Kabul. Amit is scheduled to be back in India in March. Bomyan,Maza-e-Sharif,Herat we had to visit one of the places in our short 8 day holidays .As often happens when too much planning is done, nothing happens. So we decided to take Juma's services and make a day trip to Salang.
It is 26th morning and though my body clock has made me get up at 6 in the morning I am really loath to get out of the bed. Promptly went back to sleep and awoke again at 7.30 when Amit literally pushed the morning tea under my nose. The tea gets cold by the time it reaches the bedroom from the downstairs kitchen. It had become pretty warm thanks to the Bukhari and the two quilts I had covered myself with at night became suffocating.It was a nice sunny morning much to our disappointment because we so desperately wanted snowfall !
We started for Salang at 11.30 an hour later than our schedule and that after much shouting at kids to hurry up! We took Juma,paid him 20 $ and petrol for the journey .Though Juma did not take the 20$ and said the trip was a gift from him to us.Thanks. Its a nice straight road once one is out of Kabul. Some kilometres after Charikar the road runs parallel to the river and its a great view.The trees were barren.The small village markets we passed through on the way were busy.
We had gone to Salang in the summer of 2007 and then it was green and there were mulberry trees .There used to small kiosks with a table or two selling shahtoot and we had rested there and dipped our legs in the clear stream.But this time it was barren.The trees had no leaves and were bent by the force of the winds.
There is not much of traffic but lot of heavy vehicles ply on this road which brings supplies from Northern Afghanistan to Kabul. There are a number of tunnels on the way too but we stopped before the Salang pass and even the big tunnel.We had to be back in Kabul before dusk. Saw a number of POWERGRID towers .Stopped at a place with snow and a fairly even ground for us to have a picture session and some rolling on the snow.There a snowball fight ,but the snow was soft and our legs would promptly go under.
On the way back ,had another session near a stream. The water was freezingy cold and it was fun. A little ahead there some pottery shops selling stuff from the kilns of Isatalif. Stopped to take some pictures and buy some items.I opted for a small blue pottery tea set with a kettle and 4 teacups and Amit went for a decorative urn. To our amusement ,there were tea sets and some knick knacks having picture of Mihir and Tulsi(of "Kyonki Saas bhi kabhi bahu theee" fame) .I came acros two coffee mugs with pictures of Vidya and Kumkum,two leading ladies of the TV soap serials . We hadnt bargained much and had paid 500 afghanis for the vase.Later Juma went on his own to the shop and bought a bigger vase for 350afghanis which the shopkeeper had tried to sell to us for 700 .GOLDEN RULE: NEVER BE SHY TO BARGAIN .