Construction work outside the hotel kept me awake a good part of the night, the hammering and booming sheets of tin echoing like gunshots and bomb blasts. I moved therefore to a different room in the hotel, and curled up under a dusty blanket, read books for the most of the morning.
The Dunya Internet Cafe costs a steep 80 afg which is more than a dollar and a half an hour. It's hard to get anything done in only an hour and it's twice as difficult to concentrate with that silly background running program that pops up a stripper every now and again in the right bottom corner of the screen. To download my journal from my Palm, I pop the SD flash card into an external USB reader and connect it to the desktop. But my card reader had malfunctioned and I had to borrow one from the staff. It seems the more stuff you have the more things go wrong.
In the evening I joined Rafi and his two brothers at their antique shop. Rafi had travelled to the dusty Balkh town of Shibarghan, known for its delicious grapes. He spent $2000 on antiques to stock his shop of which included an ancient agate stamp carved with the likeness of a scorpion, a bronze arrowhead, and an old Russian tea pot. We shared a meal of tender juicy lamb, simmered in an onion gravy. I learned the expression "Finger lickin' good" has a local Turkmen equivalent that roughly translates to "So good you will eat your finger."
The boys outside my hotel make a delicious fruit shake thick enough to eat with a spoon. Its main ingredients are over-ripe bananas, sugar, cream, almonds, and dates, topped with a generous drizzle of condensed milk.
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