As some of my readers will know, I am not a fan of the cold. In fact, anything below 25 degrees turns me into a human icicle and makes me extremely unhappy. So, having moved to Kabul I’ve had to figure out ways of keeping myself warm. Happily I’ve discovered that the Afghans have already invented many ingenious methods to keep toasty in the Siberian winters and with the first snow arriving this week I couldn’t survive without them. Here I will present just three.
Strategy One - Plastic over the window
In my country, we call this double glazing, but of course that all costs $$, so the Afghan way is to buy rolls of see-through plastic sheeting and stretch it across the windows. the next time someone gives you a quote for insulating your house, tell them where to stick it. Here’s a cheaper way to do it. Although you should note that it means you can’t open windows for the entire winter, and when combined with strategy 2, this can be a lethal cocktail.
Anyone that has survived an Afghan winter knows all about the joys of the semi-deadly bukhaari. Each day I have a fresh bucket of saw dust delivered to my room ready for me to light. Eight times out of ten, I fill the room with smoke, but the other two times I get it right, I am blessed with a comforting, rustic heat that warms me to the core.
All around Kabul now you will see men wrapped from head to toe in a shawl made of thick wool. It looks so cosy that you almost want to go and snuggle. But I try to refrain from doing that most of the time.