Love in a hot (and dangerous) climate:

Love in a hot (and dangerous) climate: 
Heidi Kingstone's stories of working as a foreign correspondent in a war zone 

Heidi Kingstone has reported from a long list of global trouble spots 
2007 to 2011, she lived in Afghanistan, embedding herself in local culture 

Her book is a series of colourful postcards, detailing her encounters 
By JANE SHILLING FOR THE DAILY MAIL 

PUBLISHED: 22:01, 7 May 2015 | UPDATED: 22:01, 7 May 2015 


Dispatches From The Kabul Cafe 

by Heidi Kingstone 

(Advance Editions £10.99) 

Samuel Johnson once wrote that ‘every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier’. Perhaps the modern female equivalent of that dream of military heroism is the job of foreign correspondent in a war zone, which has a certain gritty glamour. 

Canadian journalist Heidi Kingstone has reported from an impressively long list of global trouble spots, including Sierra Leone, Darfur, Israel-Palestine and Iraq. 

From 2007 until 2011, she lived in Afghanistan, embedding herself in local culture and writing about everything from shopping in Kabul to the 2010 Badakhshan massacre, in which ten foreign aid workers were murdered. 

Heidi Kingstone (pictured) has reported from a long list of global trouble spots2007 to 2011, she lived in Afghanistan, embedding herself in local culture 
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Heidi Kingstone (pictured) has reported from a long list of global trouble spots2007 to 2011, she lived in Afghanistan, embedding herself in local culture 

Kingstone’s preparations for her stay in Kabul included ‘stockpiling lots of beauty products to combat the unforgiving climate’. When she arrived, on a bitter February day, her impression was ‘of a city covered in mud . . . like being transported back to the Stone Age’. 

In 2007, ISAF, the NATO-led mission to bring peace and security to Afghanistan, had been in place for six years, attracting stupendous quantities of foreign cash, as well as Western journalists, diplomats, aid workers, mercenaries and other oddballs in search of excitement, a purpose or some missing part of themselves. 

Kingstone seems to have felt instantly at home in this motley company. 

Plenty of Western commentators have tried, with varying degrees of success, to give a cogent account of Afghanistan’s violent history and tormented present. But Kingstone’s interest is in the particular, rather than the analytical. 

Her book is a series of colourful postcards, detailing her encounters with the place and its remarkable characters. 

It wasn’t just the Afghan people who intrigued Kingstone. She was equally fascinated by the Western men she met, including a gun-running former American army officer, who asked if he might leave something at her house, only to deposit two rocket-propelled grenades in her front garden. 

The prospect of imminent danger notoriously leads people to fall in love — and Kingstone was far from immune. 

Nathaniel was not an obvious candidate for a passionate affair: a fundamentalist Christian with a ‘wholesome spouse’ and three young children, he wooed her with a lapis lazuli necklace. 

‘This intertwining is the very thing I wanted to avoid,’ Kingstone protests. But too late! ‘The intellectual has given way to the emotional and the primeval.’ Inevitably, they ended up having ‘really, really bad sex’. 

A second lover, Paul, seemed an even worse prospect. A death-obsessed sniper, he took her to the U.S. on a romantic road trip down Route 66, only to spend several days on a course dedicated to improving his shooting skills. ‘I know he is not the man for me,’ Kingstone reflected. 

In the end, Afghanistan wasn’t the place for her, either. ‘As much as I loved my time in Afghanistan . . . I knew I had to leave,’ she writes. 

Like so many others who arrived in Afghanistan wanting to make a difference, Kingstone left disappointed, but indelibly changed by her experience, ‘always missing it, never feeling as alive as when [I was] there’. 



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-3072447/Love-hot-dangerous-climate-Heidi-Kingstone-s-stories-working-foreign-correspondent-war-zone.html#ixzz3bQdwqwl6 
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