Esmat Zeerak of Kabul, AFGHANISTAN

12. Featured Traveller 
(Kabul, Afghanistan)
Esmat Zeerak
a.k.a. Dr. Esmat

"My big dream is to have an online presence someday....and now it is becoming a reality!"  
A Kid With Great Ambition 
As this page is designed to blog about the travel experiences of its readers, friends, friends of friends, and anyone who wants to share their passion, it has been the author's goal to write and feature travellers from different countries all over the globe ~ there is no restrictions as to the destinations. Any travel that a writer is comfortable to write about will be published. This weblog tend to build a lasting relationship with travellers and travel writers, both new and experienced alike.
Having said this, it is a pleasure to introduce to you a very ambitious teenager who hails from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan by the name of Esmat a.k.a. Dr. Esmat.  His story on how he was called a doctor by almost everyone in his community will be revealed at the later part of his story.
Flag of Afghanistan

Although Esmat lives in Kabul, which he says was beautiful before the crisis, he chose to share his journey outside the country of Afghanistan.  He has travelled to India, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Pakistan and the most recent is Australia.  His ambition is to travel in many parts of the world, live and study in the United Kingdom and be a successful person.

At his young age, he engaged himself in the field of blogging. He received awards from both fellow bloggers and the Afghan community in Australia in his barely five months of blogging. Some of which are: Liebster Award, The Versatile Blogger and the Afghan Culture House.  He was also invited twice as guest speaker to talk about blogging sponsored by the Afghan community at the Culture House.

Here is his life as a boy, a teenager, and as an ambitious travelling young man in and outside of Afghanistan.  

Read on...

Hello! My name is Esmat.  I am now living and studying in Kabul in which three years of my primary education was spent in the neighbouring Peshawar, Pakistan.  I learned the English language with no textbooks or any language course, but rather learn it from story book, through conversation with English-speaking person, and on cartoon shows on television.

I like travelling so much and would like to travel as much as I can whenever the situation and time permits. The situation in my country is not-so-good but I will not let it stop me from making it happen.

I had to leave my home in Kabul at 10:00am to catch my flight.  Destination: Australia. This trip is not an easy one for me.  There are many delays that happened here, before and after I left Kabul.  The immigration officer at the Kabul International Airport questioned about my visa to Australia; question about its validity and genuineness. Eventually, I left the airport with anticipation bound for Dubai.

Around 1:00pm, I landed at Dubai International Airport, or you may say DXB.  It's my first stop wherein I spent a couple of hours in the first class lounge which was reserved for me, after which I went around, look here and there just for curiosity. Booksellers, perfumes, electronics are everywhere.  The airport is full of signature and brand items. I think they are cheap because they are priced as duty free. I end up buying a nice Cannon digital camera with 14 mega pixels and 18GB space which is cheaper as compared to Kabul prices.   
Now we are trying to find the terminal that is going to Qatar International Airport which is only one and a half hours flying. It is my second stopover.  I was so anxious to board the aircraft as I feel so excited,  but tired.  My travelling companion was able to pass through the boarding counter and when it is time for me, the problem came up again. This time, the system is not functioning.  It's funny.  Why are these hassles coming at the height of my travels.  Until now, it is a puzzle.

Believe me, you don’t go to Qatar for a journey. I have this impression right there at the airport. It is not nice. It is so small that makes it crowded for passengers who seem to be eager to fly right away from Qatar International Airport.  I must tell you that the service is very low.  Even in the Food Court you have no chance to sit and eat as there is no space. It is waste of time trying to find one at that very moment.

The problem with the system at the airport has been fixed, we therefore, started boarding the aircraft via Qatar Airlines. It was so huge with three rows and hundreds of seats, each one with a mini television. The seating arrangement is very convenient and the service is excellent. Now, we are getting close to Australia. I can see on the monitor that  our plane is now circling Melbourne so I said to myself, now here comes the real journey. We are landing in Melbourne.  I have to visit a couple of friends and relatives including my brother.

I am tired but I don't feel it that much.  If you are a traveller, you will know how hard it is to fly long hours, but I'm like.."ahh this is awesome!…Mind you, we just reached Australia’s International Airport and am already on high spirit.  And suddenly, I got scared of those dogs snipping luggages probably checking for drugs or food.  I remember my sister had two apples in her backpack so when it passes the x-ray, it was very visible so the officer asked to open the backpack. When he saw the apples, he asked who owns them with a grin.  Obviously, my sister was able to get away with it.

Now we are almost out of the airport heading to the arrival area where a lot of people are waiting.  In just few minutes, I saw my brother in the crowd. I run and hug him.  You have no idea how happy I was when I saw him.  My brother was with his friend and our uncle with the family. We headed to the parking area and what a surprise when he asked me to sit in the front passenger seat. It is unusual.  I know that in Kabul, you will not see a boy or a girl sitting in front unless he or she is 15 or above.  Although I am older than 15 I am still shocked but feel proud. I feel I am a very important person. 

My brother is driving us now to Dandenong, a suburb and major urban centre in metropolitan Melbourne.  The residents are mostly born overseas that includes immigrants from India, Sri Lanka and my country of Afghanistan. We reach my uncle's house at past 11:00 o'clock. A little chat and then go to bed to rest.

The next morning I went to Dandenong Public library to sign up and borrow books….but then I thought that I did not come to Australia for reading but for learning new things and having some fun…! So, after ten days of wandering around Dandenong, we planned for a Sydney trip.  We booked airline tickets with Virgin Airlines. For some reason,  I did not like the airline that much, but it is rather good for short trips from one city to another. We met Mr. Tahiri together with many people welcoming us.  Wow, there was a huge Afghani meal prepared especially for us. It was already late at night and am still planning and listing places to see in Sydney.  Yes, I made a  list of some famous places and one of them is the Taronga Zoo. The next day we got into a ship for a trip to Traonga Zoo. The zoo is huge that we spent a full day of wandering and seeing most of the animals, but because of its size, I was not able to finish exploring the whole area.  

The next day, we are at Darling Harbour bridge.  Went around the city and took a glimpse of the most famous Opera House. There was heavy rain when we were on the bridge, so we waited under the arc until it subsides. Let me tell you something. Some people say that if you did not see the Darling Harbour bridge,  you have not seen Sydney,  and if have not seen Sydney, that means you have not seen Australia ...and if you have not seen Australia,  you have not seen the world.  That is a bit funny. For a young man like me, I believe what they are saying because in every country, there is something you see that you will never forget like a landmark.  Something that is so special.

By the end of the day, I was so exhausted that I had no strength to move.  I hesitate to move ~ my way of catching their attention because I saw a McDonalds where we can sit, eat and refresh.

Three Sisters is one place I always wanted to visit, so we drove there the next morning. The Three Sisters are a rock formation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. They are close to the town of Katoomba and are one of the Blue Mountains' best known sites, towering above the Jamison Valley. We reached Three Sisters by midday and I find the place too cold. We went down the path although some people told us it is dangerous to go there. I consider this a once in a  life time opportunity so I decided to go down the Giant Stairways'  800 steel and stone steps with my brother and Mr.Tahiri’s son. I admire the beautiful natural water fall and an amazing scenery. It is spectacular!  We did not have much time left so we had to catch our bus going back to Sydney. If it is your first time here and you want to visit the Blue Mountains, you can take a train from Sydney Central Station which takes two and a half hours through Mt. Victoria.  But still, the best way is to drive approximately 90 minutes to the main destination of Katoomba.

One of the reasons why I travelled to Australia is to attend a book launch and receive an award for blogging.  We headed to the city of Brisbane and was picked up by Mr.Karimy from the airport. We pass the famous and nice places along the way to his home. He is more than a tour guide while identifying and giving a brief description of each place. That night,  we were accommodated at the Ambassador's guest house. The next day we went for Queensland museum and have seen the skeletal Giant Dinosaurs and the many historic stuff like old planes. It was nice and I enjoyed this particular tour.

At the end of the day, it was time to attend the book launching invitation which was sponsored by the Hazaragi Culture & Literature.  It was fun. I was given a book as a prize for winning one of the contests at the finale of the show.

Now it is time for a trip to Melbourne the next morning.  It is a Great Ocean Road tour.  This is the road circling around the ocean plus we booked a nice house to stay for the night. We reached the house and started making barbecue while my uncle cooks the best chicken kebab. After barbecue-ing, I take a dip in the pool for over an hour and having a glass of tea afterwards in front of an open fire. It was a night to remember. It's truly unforgettable. It did not end there because at the start of the day,  we went to see ocean road from a helicopter.  I was so excited because it was my first time in a chopper. It was a fantastic experience!

There is a lot of story to tell about my trip to Australia but I only shared the amazing parts that is worth mentioning. I hope you find it interesting. Oh, and by the way, why they call me Dr. Esmat?  Please visit my blog.  All my secrets are being revealed including that one.  I hope you will come visit me some time.  Thanks for the time you spent reading my story. See you soon. I will wait for you.

From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send a message @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail(dot)com

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