Until the server access and speed problems are fixed it seems I’m forced to temporarily (?) switch back to my old blogger blog.
April 23, 2005
April 11, 2005
Yahoo! News - Daredevils Bring Diversions to Kabul
By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - The war wreckage, the lack of jobs, the military helicopters droning above — all is forgotten when Mohammed Jawed pours a cap of “magic oil” into his battered car, sparks the engine and thunders around the “Wall of Death.”
Jawed, a daredevil motorcyclist and a diminutive male dancer — all of them Pakistanis — are part and parcel of the Clean Afghan Circus, a name none of them, including owner Shah Zada, can satisfactorily explain. The concoction Jawed calls “magic oil” is a secret formula.
More certain, however, is their job in the once-graceful, mile-high Afghan capital: A rare dose of relatively affordable fun in a city still adjusting from a quarter-century of brutal war and civil conflict.
The trio performs in a stockade of battered wooden planks near the Kabul stadium where the Taliban once staged public executions. On Friday, the traditional Muslim day of rest and prayer, scores of young boys played soccer on the bare, dusty earth nearby.
But their exertions were little competition for the Clean Afghan Circus and its menacing “Wall of Death” that called out to Kabulis from hand-painted advertisements.
Small boys and off-duty policemen jostled with groups of bearded men diverted from their weekly stroll on the day off to pay the entrance fee of about 50 cents for the 15-minute show.
On the rickety seating gallery, 8-year-old Hamid tugged excitedly on his older brother’s sleeve as a Pashto language pop song burst deafeningly from the loudspeaker.
Saifullah, a 28-year-old dancer who stands only 3 feet tall, gyrated at the bottom of the arena.
The music faded and so did the smiles as Jawed gunned the spluttering motor of his windowless, compact Suzuki sedan, accelerated onto the planks set at about 30 degrees to the wall and rose up the sheer wall itself, leaning calmly out the passenger-side door for balance.
The circular wall, about 40 feet across and bound together with bands of thick steel cable, shuddered alarmingly as Jawed and his Suzuki zipped around the structure about six feet off the ground.
Audible sighs of relief rose from the crowd when the more agile motorbike — the daredevil cyclist riding sidesaddle — plucked bank notes from the hands in the crowd as he retraced the vertical course laid out by Jawed.
Hamid’s shiny-eyed assessment: “There’s nothing else like this in Kabul, this is the No. 1.”
Three years after the fall of the Taliban, Kabul is recovering quickly with aid from the outside world, profits from the opium poppy crop and the return of thousands of refugees.
Gone are the Taliban militia’s strict edicts against pop music, kite-flying and chess. But life is still a grinding fight against poverty for the majority, opportunities to forget one’s cares still rare.
Gul Amin said he had walked across the park from his police post for his third visit to the circus.
“We have new freedom now, nobody is telling us what to do,” the 25-year-old Amin said. “But there’s nothing really fun” other than the circus.
Shah Zada, the Afghan owner of the circus, said he first saw the motorbike act in Pakistan about 20 years ago when he was a refugee from his native city of Jalalabad and decided to try the same thing with a car.
He said his troupe had been touring in Pakistan for several years but had never been to Kabul before.
Jawed, the driver, said he “only” had three accidents so far and escaped injury each time. He blamed two of the crashes on a broken axle, and the other on a blown piston. The motorbike rider was not as fortunate, breaking several ribs after a spectator grabbed his handlebars in Peshawar, Pakistan.
With the show running every half hour from dawn until dusk, Shah Zada said it was bringing in as much as $470 a day, a tidy take that has persuade him to continue his first Afghan tour in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
He said he was negotiating with Afghan officials to bring in a full-blown circus “with female gymnasts” from neighboring Iran.
Amin, the policeman, said he was unsure people were ready for that: “The government will have to decide.”
But Shah Zada, the circus owner, declared the time had come to relax.
“The Afghans need to see some fun, some happiness after all they have been through.”
February 28, 2005
I’d just did a search for J’s blog on Google and here’s what I got:
Google Search: j’s blog blogsome
… J’s Philosophy blog. … I will try and continue to post to my old blog, but as a … Thanks
to Blogsome for offering this free blog software and hosting, I sure hope …
jsblog.blogsome.com/ - 19k - Feb 27, 2005 - Cached - Similar pages
Google’s fast, got give’m that
February 27, 2005
so let’s get this out of the way.
I will probably be transferring my blogger blog to here or somewhere/thing like this. My primary reason for doing so is due to the fact that Blogger will not add category functionality. I will try and continue to post to my old blog, but as a holding area for the time being while I’m learning this new stuff.
Thanks to Blogsome for offering this free blog software and hosting, I sure hope it works out.
“Newly registered members: May submit drafts for review”
I just allowed this feature. Not sure how it works, but if you figure it out be my guest (and maybe let me know how it works). I assume you register and then there’s somewhere on my site you can submit your draft to me. If I think its ok, I approve it and it appears on my blog. Will look into it and let u know. Of course if it dosen’t work you can always email me your draft.