This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN KANDAHAR &

194 KANDAHAR ••

Sleeping

it won’t be serene for long as your presence will probably attract an army of kids from the surrounding village.

SLEEPING

Sleeping options in Kandahar are relatively limited, expensive and low quality due to the lack of travellers that make it to the city, with most Afghans staying with friends or family and most internationals staying in their organisations’ private guesthouses. The hotels listed all have armed guards, are centrally located and regularly accommo- date visiting NGO workers and journalists.

Noor Jahan Hotel (x070 335427; Herat Sarak,

Chowk-e Shaheedan; s/d with bathroom 800/1200Afg)

The best budget option in Kandahar. It has a small restaurant for guests only, hot water most of the time and all the Bollywood you can watch on Indian satellite TV. Most of the rooms are pretty dilapidated, but com- pared with the budget alternatives, they’re not bad value. The hotel is surrounded by wedding shops that decorate cars for the big day with streamers and gaudy plastic flowers.

Continental Guesthouse (x070 302613; Herat

Sarak, Chowk-e Shaheedan; s/d US$40/60) This guest-

house is very popular with journalists, as there is a computer with internet access in every room, and laundry and breakfast are included. It’s comfortable and secure, al- though some of the rooms are pretty tired for the money and few come with private bathroom.

Yasin International Guesthouse (x070 301042,

Herat Sarak, Chowk-e Shaheedan; s/d US$40/60) This

guesthouse is attached to the Yasin BBQ Res- taurant and has six rooms with bathrooms. They have plans for expansion in the near future. Like the Continental, it is comfort- able and secure but somewhat overpriced.

EATING & DRINKING

The Pakistani and Baloch influence on Kan- dahari Pashtun culture is most evident in the food. There is little variance between restau- rants in the local cuisine; however, the saving grace of the Kandahar fare is the magnificent seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables.

Mirwais Shandaiz Restaurant (x079 9022 338;

Kariz Bazaar; meals from 150Afg; h8am-10pm) Not

surprisingly this is the only restaurant in Kandahar to sport a spinning disco light; don’t let the waiters in matching grotty

Book accommodations online atlonelyplanet.com lonelyplanet.com

England soccer shirts put you off, as they serve great Afghan food all day. Offer- ings include kebab, pulao (rice dish), mut- ton karai (diced mutton fried with chilli, tomato and spices and served with bread), mantu (steamed meat dumplings) and beef kufta (meatballs with different sauces served with rice). The food is fresh, portions are generous and the local seasonal juices and milkshakes are delicious. To finish off, try the home-made ice cream followed by a cup of chai and a sheesha pipe on the elevated

takht area.

The Coffee Shop (x070 300169; Chowk-e Kiptan

Madad; meals from 200Afg; h10am-10pm) The Cof-

fee Shop serves up a wide selection of West- ern café-style food, Pashtun and English literature and pretty good espresso coffee. It has been dubbed ‘the Starbucks of Kan- dahar’ in many Western broadsheets and magazines and has just installed four pool tables. It is the first of its kind in the city and a great place to take a break from ke- babs and pulao. Here you will find groups of hip, male 20-something Pashtuns sip- ping lattes and speaking about the latest pirated Hollywood DVDs.

Madina Restaurant (x070 302652; Chowk-e Shah- e Nau; meals from 200Afg; h8am-10pm) The recently

opened Madina Restaurant serves the usual mix of Afghan staples and proudly displays its Western options of burgers and club sandwiches at the top of the menu. Their massive juice bar churns out concoctions of the fruit of the season.

Yasin BBQ Restaurant (x070 301042; Herat Sarak,

Chowk-e Shaheedan; BBQ dishes from 350Afg; h8am-

10pm) By far the best Pashtun BBQ res- taurant in town, the Yasin serves up tasty lamb kebab, beef shaslik and BBQ whole chicken in a twinkling, plus it will do meals on request. Cleanliness doesn’t seem to be too much of a priority, with the occasional cigarette butt kicking around on the greasy floors, but diners shouldn’t be overly con- cerned as the fare is fresh and comes straight off the scorching-hot charcoal grill.

SHOPPING

The main shopping areas are located around the three Old City Chowks. Chowk-e Shaheedan is good for mobile phone cards, moneychangers, toiletries and food. Sev- eral good antique stores can be found in Kabul Darwaza, selling all sorts of trash and

lonelyplanet.com

treasure from the British and Soviet occu- pations. The tool stores here sell the fa- voured souvenir of Western journalists in the south – opium poppy cutters and scrap- ers. In Chowk-e Charso rugs can be found at much cheaper prices than in Kabul. Tra- ditional Pashtun turbans and the quintes- sential Kandahari prayer hat, the balotchi, encrusted with a rainbow of plastic gems, can also be found here.

GETTING THERE & AWAY

Although road travel options exist and the condition of the roads has improved greatly in recent years, the Kandahar–Kabul route (bus/taxi 500/2000Afg, six hours) and the Kandahar–Herat route (bus/taxi 1000/ 4000Afg, 12 hours) aren’t recommended due to the prevailing security situation. Air remains the best option for access-

ing Kandahar. Several commercial carriers provide regular services into the recently refurbished civilian terminal building, fea- tured on the 500 Afghani note. Ariana Afghan

Airlines (x070 300847; Spin Boldak Sarak) has just

commenced two regular services; a weekly Kabul–Kandahar–Herat service (one-way 1790Afg) and a weekly Kabul–Kandahar– Dubai service (one-way 8600Afg). Although pricey, the Dubai-based DFS (x971-42997556;

www.dfsmiddleeast.com; one-way US$600) also take

passengers on their weekly cargo run from Dubai–Kandahar. Several options exist for Kabul–Kanda-

har flight – exclusively for NGOs registered with the humanitarian air carriers. The ICRC operates a free space-available weekly service, UNHAS have a twice weekly service and PACTEC operates a weekly service.

THE SOUTH 195

Kandahar can be reached by road from

Quetta in Pakistan. You will need to take a bus or taxi to the Pakistani border town of Chaman, then cross into Spin Boldak in Afghanistan and take a taxi to Kandahar (800Afg, two hours). There is no reason to spend any time in the border towns, which in summer resemble something out of a Mad Max movie: full of dust and dirt, with the locals engaged in trading auto parts and smuggling goods. The border gener- ally opens at 8am and can close anytime up until 5pm, or without notice by the security forces on either side. This is the only sec- tion of road in the south that is currently being used by NGOs. However, as with all information in this chapter, ensure you have the latest security information before planning a trip.

GETTING AROUND

The Millie buses and minibuses (5Afg) run in a general east–west and north–south di- rection throughout the day. Taxis will take you anywhere in the city for 50Afg; auto rickshaws cost 25Afg. Movement on foot or by bicycle is not recommended.

THE SOUTH

Due to the security situation outside of Kandahar there are few foreigners here who are not wearing military uniform. The Pakistani influences, more so than Central Asian ones, can be seen in the provinces to the east of Kandahar, such as Zabul and Paktika – in the food, clothing, currency and the insurgency. While in the provinces

OPRAH WINFREY AND HANDMADE POMEGRANATE SOAP

Bostonian, Harvard educated, former National Public Radio journalist-turned-humanitarian, Sarah Chayes first came to Afghanistan in 2002. Having first arrived in the country as a journalist, this failed to satisfy her desire to contribute to the needs of the people. Returning to Kandahar to create her own small cooperative Sarah looked to the produce of the south to create products for the export market, and founded Arghand. The initial capital was provided by numerous benefactors, including Oprah Winfrey. The products

of Arghand are soaps, oils and skin care products; the Desert Fields soap with palm and coconut oils and steeped Artemisia persica leaves claims to be Arghand’s best cleanser. Along with the products marketed by Arghand, is a collection of organically produced chutneys and jams made almost entirely of pomegranates, plums and apricots – nothing is wasted. Sadly these are yet to be ready for export but can be found in the bazaars of Kandahar. To learn more about Arghand, visit www.arghand.org.

SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN KANDAHAR & Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com