Spring breakers Emily Rothstein '12 and Jenna Harris '12 admitted to feeling "a little disappointed" when their ostensibly Mexico-bound airliner touched down in Afghanistan late last Saturday.
The navigational misstep allegedly began when an employee at Logan Airport in Boston mistakenly spelled Kabul with a C on the departures board. Rothstein and Harris, unfamiliar with the Spanish language but aware that some pronunciations are different, assumed that -ul was pronounced "oh" in Spanish and happily boarded Safi Airways Flight 7704 to Kabul International Airport.
"Looking back, the layover in Dubai should have tipped us off," recalled Harris. "But then again, we were so groggy from the Ambien and everyone had a great tan; we just assumed we were in Houston."
After realizing what had happened, the two sophomores agreed it would be best to make the most of their misfortune and see what Kabul had to offer. Warned not to travel by bus, the two took a cab to Kabul's most extravagant lodging, the Serena Hotel, and booked seven nights at the attractive rate of 50 Afghani, or roughly $1.05, per evening.
Rothstein bemoaned the parity of hard-bodied frat boys and would have appreciated the opportunity to model her adorable new bikini-which she assumed would have had negative consequences in the Afghanistan capital-but insisted that the trip wasn't a total waste.
"We had an alright time at the Mausoleum of Emperor Babur," said Rothstein. "Jenna really liked the Kabul Zoo but I personally thought the animals looked a little underfed."
Harris also said she enjoyed the OMAR Mine Museum, which features 51 types of land mines of the 53 used in Afghanistan over the past several decades.
Like their classmates in more traditional spring break venues, Rothstein and Harris also managed to take several excursions to nearby points of interest during their time in Afghanistan. Rothstein fondly recalls her and Harris' day trip to Islamabad, Pakistan.
"We found the cutest scarves and blankets at the bazaar when we visited," said Rothstein. "Did you know you can buy a cat for like 6 lemons? A live cat! Turns out lemons are really rare here. Jenna talked me out of it but seriously: how crazy is that?"
Asked if the recent U.S. surge in Afghanistan affected their trip at all, the two suddenly fell very solemn. Rothstein couldn't seem to find the words, so Harris spoke on her behalf.
"Emily has a thing for guys in uniform," explained Harris. "We met a bunch of cute soldiers at one of the marketplaces they were occupying towards the end of the trip. Emily was totally flirting with one of them but when she asked for his number, well, he said he didn't have a cell phone. Can you believe that? Of all the lame rejection lines I've heard."
In the end, the two vacationers agreed that the trip wasn't what they had hoped for, but it definitely could have been worse.
"It's like the old adage goes," concluded Rothstein. "When life gives you lemons, buy a cat."