Kites and Kabul

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Where I stayed
Amir's House

Flag of Afghanistan  , Kabul,
Thursday, June 17, 2010

I have only been in Afghanistan for 50 pages now, but already I feel like a native. Strange that I have not heard any explosions, in fact, I have not seen a single gun since I arrived. Every morning by the time Amir and I have awake Hassan, our servant, has made us breakfast. While we eat we mostly just talk about how much homework he has while Hassan irons our outfits and packs our bags. After we get out of school, we like to run up into the hills overlooking Kabal with Hassan, he is also our best friend. Once we carved our names into a pomegranate tree calling ourselves the "Sultans of Kabul"! Well except for Assef, an older boy who is really the sultan of Kabal. He often stops us on the street; he does not harass Amir because their fathers are friends, but he picks on Hassan. He calls Hassan “flat-nose” because he does not look like them, Hassan is a Hazra. Winter is here now, there is a light dusting of snow on the ground and school is out of session, which means only one thing: kites. Kite flying is a tradition here in Kabul, all the children participate, and even the adults will stop to watch a good battle. Each team has a flyer and a runner, and the objective is to “cut” the opponents kite string with your string, winning the battle and the losing kite would fall to the ground. This where the runner comes in, it is their job to run down the kite, using the wind to judge where it is going to land, and outrunning the other runners to catch it first. Hassan is by far the best runner of all the boys, and this year after running down the winning kite, he proudly brought it back for Amir.
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stephscott on

You are reading an excellent novel, Chris. Be sure not to summarize plot. (Good work with the kite flying information.) Instead, tell us about YOUR experience in Kabul. What is different than you expected? (I had NO idea they had brutal winters, for example.) What do you think about the harsh division between the Suni and the Shia?

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