You Can Bank On It

Just another same old, same old few days around KAF. Saw some weird sights, ate some weird food but the big news is I managed to use the weird ATM. So, let’s go…

I should buy some…they seem nice…

Bored Walk

I haven’t been to the Boardwalk in quite a while. I guess I just haven’t been in the market for substandard Chinese fire hazards electronics or mass produced “hand made” rugs. But being just past the midpoint of my rotation, I was desperate for a distraction and I wandered over there to take a gander at what may have changed in the last several months. I’m going to assume that “kind electronics” means they have the decency not to spontaneously combust  when exposed to electricity. That would be a nice change.

Who the hell needs Activa?

I’ve only eaten at the KFC here once and as I noted then, it is, for good or ill, very much like every KFC at home. Consequently, I was really quite happy to see the creative edit somebody made to their Chicken Zinger sign. It pretty much captures my experience following a KFC greasefest. Gotta love truth in advertising.

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LOL…I think.

Perhaps Vee Jest

I’ve mentioned before how much I like Germany. My problem is that I can never tell when Germans are kidding. Their accents always make them sound either serious or angry. I’ve often been told that they have great senses of humour although a couple of their pranks in the 20th century kinda got outta hand. Anyway, I’m going to assume that the Deutscher PX folks actually know how many days are in a week and are just having a bit of fun. On the other hand, this is KAF and people need to be told not to blow their noses in the sinks…so anything is possible.

Bits of Bites

I avoided the lard topping.

The DFAC food over the last several days has been incredibly adequate and kinda non-descript but there were a couple of puzzlers. Lux offered Orange Malavia for dessert. I asked M if he thought it would be any good but he said he’d “never been to Malavia and I’m not even quite sure where it is”. Turns out, it’s just an orange pudding with an egregiously thick skin. Ergo, I will not be visiting their fair land any time soon.

Damn straight it bothers me…and it should bother you too.

I’ve really had enough of the mislabeling of food. Not only can’t they tell the difference between macaroni and linguini or rotini, but now they’re conflating peaches and pears. At IH the other night, M got what he foolishly presumed was Peach Crisp just because that’s what it said on the sign. It turned out to be made with pears. M said it tasted prettty good so he was just a little bemused by the experience. I’m not quite that fucking ok with it as it raises some pretty significant concerns. First, they called it a “Crisp” whereas its topping is identical to the goddamn “Crumble” at the Cambridge. Neither of these names is fucking accurate. They don’t crumble the crumble and the crisp isn’t crisp. They should just call it “Fruit with Shit on Top”…ok, maybe they can come up with something slightly more appetizing…I’m not a fucking professional food namer fer chrissakes…I just want some bloody accuracy. Second, there’s some guy back in the kitchen who doesn’t know the fucking difference between pears and peaches. And they let him cook? Jesus Christ. “Hmm, let me see, I need to make an apple pie…Ah…here’s some deadly nightshade apples”. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being unreasonable but I think it’s important for a cook to know what the fuck he is putting in my food.

♩♫♬I’m A Lineman for the♩♫♬…Oh, Fuck It

It’s complex enough to be self-aware.

KAF is an ever growing organism. When I got here back in the Cretaceous (2008) it was about 1/2 the size it is now. A lot of shit gets built and abandoned as different countries move in and out and also with each rotation of people from a given country. I don’t think there’s anyone who really understands all of the infrastructure here. One glance at a KAF telephone pole is enough to make any lineman cringe. Rumour has it that many of the cables are disconnected. I find the air of bureaucratic control COMKAF tries to exude amongst the chaos quite amusing.

God Bless America

That’s a big ass, complicated flag pole.

As a Canadian, I’m used to watching, a tad enviously, as the U.S. always does things bigger and more in-your-face than their frozen neighbours to the north. They generally drive bigger cars, buy bigger houses and serve bigger meals. Even in shitholes like this they have to outdo us. We were sent a company flag to fly at our place of work. Our guys and gals scrounged an old metal pole and tied it to an Alaska barrier at what seemed like a decent yet unassuming height. Then the Americans move in next door. Well, it seems Ol’ Glory requires a little more dignity and a lot more height than our little company flag. They built a HUGE scaffold like tower about six months ago. We assumed it was for mounting an array of antennae. Not so, apparently. The only thing that has ever been on it is the Stars and Stripes. Odd that they have a huge deficit, eh? I’m not even going to get into the complex system of stairs, a walkway and handrails they spent about a week welding onto the top of another building to hold…a chair.

Special Request

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The Ten Commandments

One of my readers requested I post a picture of the COMKAF Top 10. These are a list of KAF rules that used to be up in the TLS (Taliban’s Last Stand) but are now displayed outside IH. At least they’re delivered with a sense of humour…not something that is in great supply in the KAF bureaucracy. I hate the fucking font and centre justification though. Nothing should ever be centre justified unless it is a title; that’s just the way it is. In my haste to prevent anyone from getting in front of me in the DFAC, I inadvertently cut off the answer to the last question. It says “You, if you’re not wearing your reflective belt” or something like that. If you want the exact fucking wording, come to KAF and read it for yourself.

Welcome to the World of Plastic Money

Citibank circa 1975 called. They want their slogan back.

The things we atheists have to put up with…

I finally made it to the Kabul Bank…oops, I mean the New Kabul Bank…while the ATM was open. I guess the name change means that when all the money disappears this time, it’ll go into the pockets of a different set of crooks and despots. That’s reassuring. Anyhow, I first went to the bank on Monday at about 2:30 since my earlier attempts during which I naively assumed 3:15 would be before the 4:00 closing time didn’t work out. It was closed. “What the hell? The sign says 8-4!”. Then I notice the new sign on the bank door….several feet from the ATM room. I think “Closed for Ramazan?” The remainder of my thoughts are censored due to fear.

ChinaUnionPay? WTF?

So, I trundled back the next day first thing in the morning. “Holy Shit! It’s open”. I pessimistically tried my Canadian bank card that used to work in the Afghan National Bank ATM but inexplicably stopped back in November. It didn’t work. Did it tell me that my card wasn’t compatible or not recognized. Oh no. It said “This ATM is temporarily out of service. Try again later”. Fuck, I broke it” I thought. Then it returns to the original screen and once again welcomes me to the world of plastic money. Resisting the temptation to welcome it to the world of leather boot, I tried my other bank card. Still no luck. And no, I hadn’t noticed the sign they’d put up off at the back of the room yet but you’d think any ATM that accepted “Dinners Club” and “ChinaUnionPay” would accept cards from real banks too.

I hate you.

Unable to access my corporate bank account, I pulled out my personal Mastercard. I get all the way to the page where I can select the amount I want to withdraw. “Hmm, $10 isn’t enough. I guess I’ll get $300″ “This ATM is temporarily out of service. Try again later”. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”. I tried again, this time selecting no receipt as this sometimes made the Afghan Bank ATMs work. “This ATM is temporarily out of service. Try again later”. Goddammit”. It’s then I notice the fucking sign mentioning the $200 limit. The suggested amounts are $10, $50, $300 and $500 and Other Amount. I select Other Amount and up come the choices of $1000, $1500, $2000 and Other Amount. Thanks for letting me know all the shit you can’t give me, asshole…are you affiliated with TGI Friday’s by any chance? Finally, I selected Other Amount and managed to end up with $200. They may want to rethink their customer service model if they hope to amass another $900,000,000 to steal.

Bottom Line

Sometimes I think I let the little annoyances of KAF life get to me too much…then I think “Those goddamn little annoyances are fucking annoying. Fuck them and anyone who causes them” and realise that that is only rational response.

“What annoyances are more painful than those of which we cannot complain?” – Marquis De Custine

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