On Jan. 28, 2011, a bomb went off at Finest supermarket in Kabul, killing six members of a prominent Afghan family and injuring many others. For the city’s ex-pat community, the tragedy served as a stark reminder that the place we now call home sits in the midst of a conflict zone. It is the kind of incident that shocks you back to reality, and out of the false sense of security you develop while living in a parallel universe.
That same day, before the carnage, I had planned to have a small party at my house. I had spent the previous day buying flowers, organizing food and ensuring there was enough diesel in the bukhary (heater) to warm up the freezing room. When the bomb went off, a friend was on the way over with a delicious chocolate cake from the local Lebanese restaurant. Food for 20 people, including two almond and pear tarts, mini pizzas and mini quiches, all cooked under the auspices of a Frenchman, clocked in at $350; but then, there is a restaurant here that charges $4.00 for coffee. Ex-pat life is not cheap: As in other conflict zones, prices are inflated by the presence of a foreign community with lots of cash. In more ways than one, ex-pats form a captive market.
To read the full story please go to the National Post.
Originally published at the National Post on the 7th of February, 2011.