HOMESICK IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, 1976

[A queasy stomach and a letter from home telling me that my chief, Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod had just died, combined to make me feel blue and missing home.  I had visited my nonagenarian chief in Scotland before leaving; she had lived in India as a young woman and was excited about my trip.  You can read more about her and my childhood trips to the Isle of Skye in BEATLES & CHIEFS]

SUNDAY 21ST NOVEMBER, 1976

“Headed for Kabul – felt really sick.  Stopped at small village – wandered up wide main street, hailed by breadmakers, so went in and saw bread being made in dark boiling room. Several of them making it; slapped loaves onto side of oven (set in the floor) and picked off before they fell into cinders.  Gave us some to taste, asked for photos as usual.

Reached Kabul late afternoon – low lying houses up side of river, with houses up side of hills either side of river.  Fairly grubby tatty town – more Western dress than in previous places.  Drove past prison – terrible looking hole (people die of exposure, dissentry etc. – where drug pushers end up).

Our hotel (Mustafa) was near Chicken Street – tourist bazaar area.  Settled into hotel (3 letters).  Went out in evening to wander round.  Freezing cold.  Went into fur shop with Heidi and Di – had great time drooling over coats, hats etc – given cay and cake (but I felt too sick to have any).
Went into clothes shop further up – very friendly.  (Clothes etc looked nicer at night, shabbier in daylight).

6 of us went to steak house – very cheap, lots of bus tours etc use it.  Couldn’t touch any of food.  Went back to hotel early – electricity off, so room dark and freezing.  Sally and Fran slept on floor of our room.
Felt homesick and unwell.”

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