I'd seen enough of the market and wandered back to the bikes to get some water and see if I couldn't give out a Brian medallion. A few of the younger boys were gathered around the bikes but quickly dispersed as I approached. As I drank my water I indicated to them that it was OK to swing a leg over the bike and for them to try it on for size. This only generated some head shakes and maybe an actual smile or some small laughter. At some point a couple of older boys figured out what was going on and gladly took the opportunity at which point the cell phones came out and a picture taking frenzy ensued.
And the weird vibe dissipated a little more but not completely. A few conversations were had and I learned a bit about life today in Afghanistan. One guy as we were getting ready to leave quietly came up and asked why I wasn't nervous being in his country. I responded with a query asking if he'd ever been in Detroit... he hadn't, and yes it was a smart ass question from yours truly. He then informed me that as a foreigner I was worth 12-cows to him if I was turned over to the men up in the mountains. The weird vibe regained some strength. Soon enough we got on our bikes and rode back to the border with a quick stop for a group photo of the Afghan Eight.
Upon our return to the hotel we were soon to learn that a two of the group who had ventured out on their own had become stranded between an impassable river crossing and an impossible up hill ride of snow and mud. They were close to 4000m above sea level, it was cold and getting dark quick. Just after 7PM one of the chase vehicles with a local guide set out for the 5-hour ride to bring them off the mountain.