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100 People, 100 Places: Cindy Crawford of Kabul

Dispatch No. 30

Jogging on the streets and up the hills of the Afghan capital was not something I wanted to do – not least because I dislike running, but it also wasn’t culturally appropriate.

Getting fit proved a challenge for me in Kabul.  I found it was difficult to be active and difficult to eat healthily and lightly, although I tried. There were a few gyms, one was at the Serena Hotel and the Kabul Health Club also had one, but it wasn’t easy to be active – you ended up taking taxis instead of walking.  But the secret to success was Cindy Crawford, the fabulous super-super model.

It was her exercise video that I carted to Kabul. As Gracie was often my partner in crime, she and I would duly practice in the living room of the house we shared in the residential area of Taimani. There, on an afternoon or evening, you might find us  following Cindy’s skating movements across the floor, arms swinging as if we were on ice, lunging from leg to leg.

Unlike Cindy, however, neither Gracie nor I had a wind machine gently blowing our hair while we kick boxed or squatted.  You would find us in the same exercise kit week after week, unlike Cindy who changed, and looked glorious, into several different outfits as well as locations.

The only location that changed was when Gracie had to move from the house we shared into The Baron, a grim secure corporate compound near the airport, a place that imprisoned its corporate employees taking away the joy of being in Afghanistan. We have fun training with Cindy, though.