Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hunting Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Last year the cooks managed to find a turkey in the city markets. This year they had no luck. So we decided to go hunting for turkey on Tuesday. It took about three hours, but we came back with about 30lbs of bird.

At about 1pm, about 9 of us loaded up into two SUVs, 5 of us with rifles at the ready. Ok, so they were AKs, and not the ornate Enfield elephant guns one can find in the tourist shops of Kabul (though we were looking for what translates from Dari as “elephant chicken”). And true, the 5 armed men were our usual security detail, in uniform, just along for the ride to keep us safe...and it’s true, that we were just going to the expat grocery store.

So we had to trek down the infamous Jalalabad Rd. (a few 2-3 meter craters are still readily visible in the road, i.e. a nice reminder that a car was blown up right where you’re driving over), but the calculus of the moment said it was OK to go down the road. Plus, since the PXs can’t sell alcohol anymore, one would think the road was less frequented by foreigners, and thus less of a “hot” road.

But there are still ISAF patrols on the street, but our drivers kept their distance from the one that was there. Also, I saw an ISAF foot patrol on a off street along the main road. That was a first, and I’m wondering if it is a new tactic. The soldiers are less concentrated, which is a good thing, but I’m wondering how the Afghans feel about it. But if any people are used to armed men in their midst, it’s surely Afghans, and especially Kabulis.

So after finding no luck at the first Aussie run store, at the second we found a 30lb bird in the freezer of the Italian run store. When standing in the kitchen with the cooks, all of us circling the frozen bird, marveling at it, they started wondering where it came from. The wrapper had Cyrillic, Arabic, Spanish, English, and what I now assume is Portuguese writing on it.

See the bird came to us, in Kabul, via an Italian run store, from Brazil; “Producto de Brazil” clearly written on the back side of the bird. [Delete “aaaah, the globalized ‘flat-world’” comment here.] So now the Brazilians are beating the U.S. out in the citrus AND the poultry market???

However far the bird traveled, our cooks did a masterful job of cooking it up, fixins and all. We had a quite, family style, dinner this year, as opposed to the T-day party we had last year. Our style this year reflects the changes that our project and company have gone through over the past year, and the dynamic of the house now versus this time last year. All in all, a great holiday. Plus I get tomorrow off. This two-day weekend thing is phenomenal. Gotta make sure my next job has that deal.

Also, and much more importantly, and something to truly give thanks for, I found some new live Modest Mouse on line; and not just any old bootleg. This is from a show earlier this month in LA. And yes, those that are fanboys of the band as I am, you know what this means.

Johnny Marr is playing guitar with the band. Hell, not just “with” the band, as now he’s “officially” part of the band. For those not in the know, yes, this is that Johnny Marr. For you all really not in the know, and I should ban you all from reading my blog, the Johnny Marr that played guitar in The Smiths, the Johnny Marr that wrote all the beautiful music of The Smiths.

MM’s new album was supposed to be dropped some time this year, but that is no longer the case. Though the sound quality isn’t too good, several new songs available on the web page. It’s enough to make any loser hipster very very happy—and thankful. And you need not ask if I think they are at least a few that are brilliant.

So, just to make sure: go get them here.

6 comments:

hamesha: said...

I fell for the turkey hunt and was wondering where in Kabul or around that area you could do that -and I was hoping you all were not headed for the dilapidated zoo.
Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving dinner and will get some time off. The Afghan community over here love an excuse to party, so we are having our own T-day party at a party room!! this evening. A bit unorthodox for the traditionally family style meal, but then you should see how we have customized Holloween and Xmas.

Q. A. Shah said...

Yeah! It worked...sorry it had to be at your expense. Though I wasn't trying to pull the wool, it was, as is apparent, a desperate attempt at humor or at least to make the blog semi-interesting. From what I hear, they do have some peacocks left at the zoo, though I still haven't been.

I hope you had a good t-day as well. The afghan-american take on t-day sounds nice, and interesting. Perhaps it's not the now common family only t-days, but it strikes more closely to the original story of the community wide dinner, no? You all would make Scalia proud with your "originalism" interpretation of the holiday.

Though Halloween and Xmas? T-day was always the holiday that my immigrant family fully embraced, as did many of the other immigrant families from various places that I knew. Holloween was merely 'tolerated' by my parents, though they always handed out candy. Perhaps it was the religious dischord. Xmas...well you know the story on that i'm sure. Afghans embracing that does surpise me.

Also, I meant to reply to your earlier comment on the identity issue, but started reading up on old notes on Benedict Anderson's "Imagined Communities" and realized maybe I need to read that in full, rather than just a selection 'cause I got myself in a tizzy thinking about it.

And also, the brash honesty of the comment following yours, though a bit juvenille, put me in my place too.

Dream Dragon Fly said...

More likely translated as "elephant bird" than "elephant chicken." Which me think beats calling them "turkey" (with the fez and all).

homeinkabul said...

It's been a full year that I've followed your blog. I just wanted to share.

Yes, I was sad to have completely missed out on Thanksgiving this year.

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