Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Walking Afghanistan

What do you get when you put a guy from Scotland in Afghanistan and let him walk from end to end? Right, you get 300 pages of fascinating story.

Rory Stewart has walked across some interesting countries: India, Tibet, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. These aren't countries that I would imagine open-armed to an obvious Anglo, despite the fact that he could speak the language and knows most of the customs. In some chapters my preconceived idea shouted true through his text, but in others the differences melted out and all that was left was the canonical human spirit.

The Places In Between covers his months of walking from one end of Afghanistan to the other, shortly after the Taliban was dismantled. While Stewart is a good writer, his tone is very matter of fact, so much so as to appear detached when confronted with residual Taliban members armed with semi-automatics.

I enjoyed the way Stewart described his travels, village by village, in beautiful, banal and sometimes horrific imagery. Details of the present superimposed with bits of localized history to illuminate how culture, religion and economics had or more often, had not changed.

Truly an interesting read about a place I'm not likely to ever visit.

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Blogger Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I loved that book. That whole part of the world has such amazing depth of culture and history, hidden from most of the rest of the world.

11:29 PM

Blogger Jim said...

True Daniel, very hidden and with ties back to G. Khan. Villages only accessible by foot over 14,000 ft passes don't get alot of tourism, apparently most Afghans have never visited them.

9:36 AM


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