In the morning my two young cameramen picked me up at the theatre in a battered once red, now just dusty dented car, a younger cousin behind the steering wheel. The sun was shining and a caravan of twenty military police vehicles passed by at full digital siren song whirling up a mile long cloud of dust and for a minute everything was just grey mist and the scent of blinking blue lights sailing by and then slowly the cloud would dissolve sinking down dust to dust and again the day would be clear and the sky was blue and Kabul lay before us scattered dustbrown bits and parts blown over the plain all the way to the foot of the mountains and even climbing them as hardly visible patterns made of wood sticks, bricks and clay towards the steep and seemingly imperturbable and blinding peaks hovering everwhite over History and we got in the car and drove through the southern part of the city centre to the foot of Tapae Bemaru where the car gave a short try banging like a tractor and then gave in and rolled backwards and we stepped out in the sharp light and as a minor expedition of one white man and his two younger natives we slowly mounted the Bemaru and stood overlooking the city that had suddenly multiplied seemingly endlessly, behind each mountain yet another grey desert lay scattered with human destruction and I produced the forty years old, but classy “An Historical Guide to Kabul” that I had bought at the famous “Bookseller in Kabul” and unfolded the map and showed my two native boys the ideal route for the Walk and they translated it to reality pointing out roads and streets from up here to the central square and from there in a semicircle out towards the theatre at the foot of Tapae Maranjan and - quite exceptionally - I asked for their opinion, - okay, I said, - let’s do it!? - Well, one of them said (or the other) and pointed out the straighter way from Tapae Bemaru to Tapae Maranjan and the theatre, - maybe, sir, he said, - maybe you choose this road instead.
Alas, we have agreed on carrying out the controversial walk the American way - in this case being the Way of the Cowards and certainly not that of the European with the his aristocratic sense of the endless variety of urban structures and everyday life that one might encounter on ones way through a city like Kabul - we just go straight for the goal: Tomorrow at 4 p:m Afghan-Persian time Nielsen will set out on his (first) long walk from the mountains to the stage.
PS: On top of it (the Bemaru mountain) I had my portrait done: There in the dust balancing on the ridge the distant mountains in the background the shell of a military tank lay left behind by History (or more probably: it had been brought there dangling under a helicopter and dropped as a wish for the tourists that are so absolutely absent in this country) and on the tank a poor lonely ragged and hungry (etc. etc.) native sat silently and patiently and probably thoughtless and definitely unproductive mourning the failure of his people, - tres pictoresque! I thought and took my position in the picture and asked my boys to ask the man to please stay exactly as he had been when we found him, but of course he immediately turned and started to reel of his rigmarole of Afghan courtesies and even asked if I wanted him to tell the sad story of his life. - No, I said, - I just want a picture; please ask him to sit and remain exactly as he were when we came here! And so they did, but too late, he was already rattling ahead, and so I got another endless and certainly sad story about the peaceful Afghan who haunted by wars and foreign interventions had fled over the mountains to Iran and lived there peacefully and hard-working as a cook serving the Iranian people, until suddenly and without any warning the Iranians had thrown him out of their country and so, there he was: on top of nowhere with nowhere to go. - Sad, but not that bad, I said, - at least he has a nowhere with a viev! - He offer you to be your cook and make the best Danish food for you, said Mahmud. - No, thanks, I said, - teshekor! and finally he shut up and the picture was taken.