Skateboards and digital life in Kabul

Written by Paper. Posted in Adventure, Articles, Off The Wall

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Published on June 23, 2016 with No Comments

Deep in the pages of Transworld Skateboarding Magazine .. what? You didn’t know we were into skateboarding? Okay. To be fair the last time we tried to ollie, let’s just say our health insurance company sent us a cease and desist letter. But nobody ever said you had to be vain to read Vanity Fair. So we’re sticking with the skateboarding magazine. On page 66 we caught a small item about Skateistan, a skateboarding school about to open in Afghanistan.

We’ve all heard about Afghanistan, but skateboarding? As the story goes, this Australian dude went to visit his girlfriend who was living there. One day he took his skateboard for a spin and suddenly found himself surrounded by Afghani kids. Eventually, he would break up with his girlfriend but proceed with the skateboarding school funded entirely through donations from around the world.

Of course we being worldly and concerned wondered about the possibilities of taking a trip to Kabul to see and possibly offer our services to Skateistan – which is not necessarily the most creative name. Then reality set in. Could we bring along our digital accessories? Can we live without our flash drives, apps, widgets and what not? Aren’t we still nursing memories of our bus trip in East Africa where we shared our quarters with goats and bananas, and flash drive meant something entirely different? Disappointment threatened to haunt all our dreams.

Turns out, Kabul does have a cyber café culture. We were charmed by this quote from a cyber café owner in the BBC news. “People talked about this being the internet era. I wondered how an era could be named after the internet.” And he’s not even the only one. Several cyber cafes are nestled among the kebab stands in Kabul and people line up for access. We had no idea there’s an Afghan Wireless Communication Company. All of which reminds there is so much we have yet to learn.

Read more about Skateistan here: Skateistan

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