Friday, September 17, 2010

Do You Like Afghan Music?

Yes, this is the same location (roughly) as yesterday's picture. The event that brought me to Bagram was a slightly late Eid-ul-Fitr, the feast celebrating the end of Ramazan, the month of fasting. This was a fun event, bringing together a lot of the partners we work with in RC-East, including Afghans, US Army, US civilians, and coalition partners. A great crowd and a nice chance for some of us who spend most of our time in the Embassy compound to interact with some real live Afghans. The meal was in the "Dragon Dining Facility" at Bagram, which has the ambiance of institutional dining halls everywhere (drop ceiling, flourescent lighting, decor consisting largely of fire extinguishers), but with a much more bad-ass, military name.

However, the industrial feel was spiced with a bit of local flair. First was the food, which included a take on Afghan pilau (rice pilaf with raisins and carrots) and stewed lamb. It was much better than what we normally get at the Embassy cafeteria. That said, it was still clearly made by the giant contractor that serves all USG meals in country; e.g. they also served the exact same poofy, square dinner rolls you have seen in every high-school, university, or hospital cafeteria you have ever eaten in.

But beyond that, a clear highlight was this guy - who is apparently a relatively well-known singer in Afghanistan. It seemed there were more Afghans snapping his picture (presumably because he was famous) than Americans (presumably because look at that costume!). I don't know enough about Central and South Asian music to know what differentiates him from any other guy working in this traditional style, but the music was fun and the singer certainly dressed for the part. I can't say I'm going to run out and buy one of his albums, but it was a cool cultural touch to a day on an installation with thousands of American airmen and soldiers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a nice break to your normal routine!