As we passed through Yawkawalang, G told us that the reason why the doors and windows are new is that the Taliban destroyed the town in 2001, burning all the houses and shooting 200 men, as part of an ongoing Hazara / Taliban feud. It’s peaceful for now but you can’t help but wonder how they go through their daily lives not knowing when it will happen again.
We stopped for the night at a tea house (chaikana) in Lal O Sar Jangal. It’s pretty awful, mainly because men kept coming into our room on pretexts and there’s a walkway outside our first floor window which gives access to anyone who climbs the outside stairs. The “bathroom” is 3 holes in the ground in an alley shared by a garage and local houses. Frankly, it’s far too dangerous for the women to use it after dark, so we planned to just pop down to the alleyway and go au natural. We can’t stay in the room by ourselves, so my partner shares with us and G and P take a nearby room.
The kitchen hygiene freaked out S and she refused to eat anything prepared there. I’ve seen a lot worse and I’m not going to starve, especially as there aren’t any alternatives in town nor will there be for some time tomorrow.
As I was writing this diary, 2 men walked into our room and stood staring at us, so we decided to use one of our traveling locks to secure the door. It’s either that or they’ll get a swift lesson in Anglo Saxon from me because I’m getting really fed up with it.
After a typical meal of lamb stew, bread and pulao rice eaten on a silver coloured tablecloth on the floor, we decided to get an early night.
Poor A was then accosted by one of the chaikana boys when she went to visit the toilet block and he tried to force her into another room with him. A steady stream of young men then walked past our window until 9pm until Ramadan hunger forced them to return to their homes.
The Italian journalist we met in Bamiyan (writing a travel book) had told P that the route we are planning to make to Herat was impossible. Today was the easy bit. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.