One of the reasons I travel are the people I meet along the way. In Afghanistan I met Candace – a 28 year old Australian of Chinese origin – who about a year and a half ago decided to quit work and travel… cross dressing her way across the most volatile region in the world .
“I thought I’d only be gone for about six months but it’s been a year and a half so far,” Candace said. She started in India, made her way through Pakistan, China and into Afghanistan. Along the way, because of her hair and her style of dress, everyone assumed she was a man… which let her get away with a lot more than any woman could have. Candace and I met up at the Afghan Ski Challenge in Bamiyan where she agreed to be videotaped and, after the jump, she tells us what Afghans really think of white people and which tribe members makes the worst husbands:
Now, some of you may be thinking WHY IN THE HELL WOULD SOMEBODY POSE AS A MAN??? ESPECIALLY IN AFGHANISTAN WHICH IS DANGEROUS ENOUGH ALREADY?
It’s all about the Benjamins. It’s cheap if you’re a man – Candace was surviving on $6-8 dollars a day (which means, the less she spends a day the longer she can travel). She could stay at the ChaiKhanas (tea houses), which are for men, and bathe in the local Hamams (baths). She could use public transportation without fear of harassment and interact with both segments of society. Sometimes I think she forgot she was posing as a dude. At one point, she told my pal James: “I find girls are really standoffish to me here.” To which James rolled his eyes and said, “it’s because they think you’re a boy.”
Think about it – it would be like Priscilla Queen of the Desert rolling up in small town Kentucky. Wherever Candace went, once people figured out she might be a girl, hilarity ensued. One female concierge at a hotel in Bamiyan actually started crying from laughing so hard.
Here’s Candace talking about Tajiks, whities and looking like a dude: