05 Aug 2005 | Dams

Boys in front of an old tank near Bamyan in Afghanistan

Ed, the guy I had spoken to on Monday, showed up at the hotel yesterday. He's working as a contractor for ADB, doing road surveys to decide where Afghanistan should start building tarred roads.
He was going to show up on Saturday but was now two days early because his planned route was inaccessible due to flooding.
The good news was that they now were taking the spectacular route to Band-e-Amir on Friday, today, and that we could tag along.

Band-e-Amir, one of a set of 'platformed' lakes, connected through naturally created dams is quite as spectacularly situated as they come. What's more, it also attracts quite a crowd on Fridays, most people's weekend. Surprising as well, considering most visitors have to travel at least three hours, by car, to visit the place.

Light blue lakes, icy cold, sparkling clean, in between towering mountains. Amazing and very similar, in parts, to Mongolia.
We went into the lake for a quick swim and VERY quickly, got out again. I tried swimming underwater to impress the local population (almost all Afghans can't swim), but it was too friggin' cold. Giovanni was brave enough to do two dives, but only survived some 10 seconds longer.

Driving towards Band-e-Amir, we constantly passed Kochis, nomads, walking down to the lake for the Friday pick nick. We drove for over three hours, from Bamyan to Band-e-Amir. In those three hours, we passed barren hill after barren hill, with only two tiny settlements along the way. Where did all these people come from and, what's more, at what time did they start to walk?

Driving back from the lakes, the hydrogeolist (Didier) and the GIS-specialist (Giovanni) went nuts over the wells we passed en route. They got out for every one of them to take the coordinates and get a sample from the water.
At one, they went off and I stayed in the car with the driver, watching some guys lounging by the side of the road. One guy came up on a motor cycle and started to chat with the people in the group. Shortly after, one of the guys quickly left to grab a young goat from a group of goats and sheep that were lounging in the area. He was holding it between his legs and almost immediately the young goat started to bleat continuously.
Some haggling later, handshakes and loads of talking, a wad of money changed hands, the goat changed owners and was tied onto the back of the motor, still bleating. The guy drove off.

Tagged with: Afghanistan Bamyan Band-e-Amir Mongolia

Boys in front of an old tank near Bamyan in Afghanistan
Bamyan, Afghanistan, in the morning
Band-e-Amir
Former Talib prepares his hash
Band-e-Amir, close to Bamyan in Afghanistan
View of Band-e-Amir, close to Bamyan, Afghanistan
View of Band-e-Amir
On the lakeshore
The women
The hills around Bamyan
Edwin and Babak
Looking at Band-e-Amir in the distance
Band-e-Amir
Holding the fort
Close to Bamyan
Water... water...
Shower
Fodder
Ice cold
Portraiture
Swans on Band-e-Amir
Selling drinks
A pink swan
We come together
Kids playing on an old tank
Didier and tank parts
Snacktime
Didier

About

  • Me

After obtaining an M. Sc in maths, Babak Fakhamzadeh started with an office job at a major blue chip company but soon realised he'd do better on his own. Babak is a traveling web guru with a penchant for doing good and a love for visual and experimental art. Together with Eduardo Cachucho, he won the World Summit Award in the m-Tourism and Culture category in 2012 for Dérive app. With Ismail Farouk, he won the Highway Africa new media award in 2007 for Soweto Uprisings . com. Check out Babak's CV.

Contact

Babak is currently in Brasil.
+55 219 6557 5388 (Brasil)

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