We headed out on Wednesday to visit Mazar in the north. It took an hour by plane to fly over the mountains in a small Beachcraft plane. If we had driven, it would have taken a full day driving back through the mountains. As we landed, we looked around us and saw pure wilderness everywhere. The landscape was flat, brown and not very industrialized.
We immediately knew that those who told us that Kabul is not the real Afghanistan must have been truth tellers. In Kabul we still saw women in burqas; in Mazar we rarely saw a woman, but when we did not one was without her burqa. The more conservative north made me wonder if there was any progress in Mazar at all. We were very covered up and still people gawked at us. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely made people stare in Kabul, as well, and the glares of the men made Susanne and I feel like we wanted to don a burqa. Laila told us that 95% of the Afghan men are “bad” and the other 5% are “still not good.” I understood her statement more than ever before.