It was sunny and clear and headed for 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) when our flight took off from Kandahar on Sunday afternoon. Once we gained a little elevation on our climb, I could look out over the landscape. The bit of green I had been able to see in April was now gone, baked to a crisp. Those are grain fields (wheat?) — this is the breadbasket of Afghanistan. And although I am no farmer, I suspect they will harvest the crop soon.
We were diverted to Muscat, Oman for a brief security screening en route to Dubai. The last time I was in Muscat, in 1992 on the way out to pick up my ship, the Carrier Onboard Delivery plane (C-2, a small prop job carrying maybe a dozen passengers and some freight) was shaking so hard I couldn’t tell we landed, until they opened the rear hatch. This time, I got to see the lovely (and cool!) new airport there. Hot enough to melt the tar filling the concrete ramp strips, however.
Finally we arrived Dubai, which has temperatures simlar to Kandahar, but the humidity is 100% rather than 6%. It hits us like a punch in the gut. Despite the nicities of Dubai, I have to say I’d prefer Kandahar.
Good grief I need a break. The harshness and sterility of Kandahar is more stressful than I had anticipated.