From the autobiography of James Michener, The World Is My Home:
Which country [of all those I have visited] was the most memorable? Without question, Afghanistan, and I believe that most foreigners who worked there in the postwar period of 1945-1960 would say the same, for in those years the minute European and American communities living in Kabul or working on the huge dam on the Helmand River [is it still there?] experienced a civilization that had no parallel at the time. In this major captial there was no hotel, no public restaurant the Europeans could patronize or would want to, no newspaper, no radio, no cinema and no social function in the indigenous community to whcih they would be welcomed. it was the most primitive living any of us had ever experienced, and we resolved the problem by resorting to certain strategems. We entertained one another seven days a week by taking turns hosting lunch and dinner. One never ate alone and none never went out except to friends' houses. On Friday nights we gathered to read plays from scripts that secretaries in the various embassies had typed in multiple copies. We went on picnics in the glorious mountains nearby. We took trips to see the gigantic statues of Buddhist saints carved on the rocky walls of the Vale of Bamian, of the beauty spots of Asia [these were the statues destroyed by the Taliban]. And I joined a caravan that headed across the great desert Dasht-i-Margo to visit Herat ... I organized another caravan far to the north to visit the ruins of ancient Balkh, where Alexander the Great in 328 B.C. met and married the beautiful Afghan girl Roxana, making her queen of the known world. Afghanistan, primitive, murderous, is a corner of the world loved by all who knew her then.