Sunday, October 17, 2010


The history books tell us that the name"Afghanistan" comes from the Persian language, where the word "Afghans" referred to the Pashtun tribes that rose to power in the region during the 18th century.

The history books are wrong. "Afghanistan" does not mean "land of the Pashtun tribes." It means "land that destroys small household electronics."

In the 11 months since I arrived in Kabul, the following items have gone kaput:
  • coffee maker
  • immersion blender/food processor/most kick-ass kitchen gadget ever (aka the "Thunderstick")
  • electric tea kettle
  • several alarm clocks
  • Nick's beard trimmer
  • my hair dryer

Yes, they were all plugged into an adapter or step-down converter when they died. Yes, they were all working when we left the US.

We really don't know why all of these appliances bought the farm. Luckily only one was a must-have: my hair dryer. It died just this past Friday, and I was in a bad mood about it for 2 days! I know this makes me sound like a high-maintenance girl. In fact, all I could think about was the line from Spaceballs: "That's my industrial strength hairdryer, and I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT!" I mean, anyone who really knows me will tell you that I am anything but high maintenance. But with my newly shortened hair (I got it cut in Istanbul -- letting a guy who didn't speak much English take a pair of scissors to my head was an interesting experience, and an exercise in trust!), I can't just hop out of the shower and into a ponytail. I need a hairdryer......and a straightener, ideally. But that's all I need, I swear! I am not a collector of useless hair and beauty gadgets and products! Fortunately Nick and I were able to locate the ONE hairdryer available for sale on the ISAF compound, after Nick had searched high and low at the Camp Eggers PX and bazaar.

Bye bye tiny blue hairdryer. Hello giant red (& very heavy) hairdryer

As for the other two priority items -- Nick's beard trimmer and the Thunderstick -- well, Nick and I are very lucky to have incredibly helpful and generous parents. Nick made use of the "spa" services over at Camp Eggers to keep his beard growth in check while his parents mailed him a new trimmer. And my folks kindly replaced our beloved Thunderstick as a gift for our first wedding anniversary.

The other busted items aren't so much of a priority, at least at the moment. We bought an alarm clock with an Afghan plug at the little grocery store on the compound. Since we don't eat breakfast at home (we eat at our desks -- best way to deal with the new mandatory 8am start time), we don't miss the coffee maker. And the stove works just as well as the electric tea kettle.

And now, I don't really know how to wrap this up. How about a lesson of the day?

Kabul blows...............the circuits of small household appliances. *tee hee*

1 comment:

  1. Add our iPod soundbar to the list of dead electronics.