Wednesday, October 8, 2008


We pause at the top, like on the best roller-coaster, then we are off. The death trap, rattle-box taxi takes the bends wide, a wheel is airborne, hovering above a rusting hulk that did not make the corner last year.

Fear has an interesting taste, a metallic tang at the back of the tongue. Another bend, another prayer to whomever may be listening. We are at the mercy of a maniac who puts the car into neutral and switches off the engine for the downhill run.

everlasting journey
promised by each hairpin
to the careless traveller

Peter loses his nerve and screams at the driver who rolls his eyes and asks, "Why engine? No need, this way cheaper!"

dust covered Death
scythes through time
driving a taxi

Images flash by: a burqa clad woman, children playing with chicken heads, fat-tailed sheep, Lee Enfield rifles carried with enviable nonchalance and a Liverpool Football Club shirt.

We reach the city. Outside a bank a line of hippies wait to cable Mom and Dad back home to send more money. Their speech is slurred and dotted with 'Cool man,' 'That's radical, man,' and 'He sells the best shit this side of 'Nam, man'. We head for Chicken Street to find a cheap hotel where we can revel in being the only non-Afghanis in the place. A welcoming pot of Jasmine tea and the journey is forgotten for a while.

'Sigi's Restaurant:
Good Food and Rice Pudding'
unexpected in Kabul

by Rona Laycock
Avening, Gloucestershire, UK

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