National Geographic : 1968 Jan
"Za zdorovie-to health. I thank you." I sipped. "No, no!" said the projectionist. "With one swallow. That's how we toast here." I emptied my glass, wiped my eyes, and waited for the invitation to eat. "Now it's your turn," said the student as he refilled the glass. I knew what was expected of me: "Za zdorovie. I drink to the Soviet Union." Every body beamed. I looked at the empty bottle and beamed too. Now, surely we would eat. "Za zdorovie," said the Turkoman, produc ing another bottle. "I drink to peace." "Za zdorovie, I too drink to peace." By this time I was feeling very peaceful. At last we ate. The Turkoman raised his glass. "Za zdorovie," he began, but I was already thanking our host and heading for the door. From Samarkand Helen and I flew back to Kabul to pick up Alexander's trail on the next leg of his march of conquest. In early summer of 327 B.C. he returned to the Kabul Valley and headed east into what is now West Paki stan. His goal was daring indeed-he intended to add India to his empire. The entourage Alexander headed was larg er by far than the one he had led east from Macedonia seven years before. To his infantry and cavalry he had added thousands of Per sian horsemen. Including camp followers, his retinue totaled 120,000 people. Alexander himself had changed. He drank more, was subject to frequent and violent bursts of temper-in one of which he mur dered Black Cleitus, a friend who had saved his life at the Granicus. He was ruthless in dealing with those who opposed him. Yet in spite of this, he retained the loyalty of his men. Somewhere on the edge of India, Alexander - UUA KUM~, nAIIVNALl WUKAYKnIZIVIItlT Dead calf serves as a ball in Afghanistan's free-for-all version of polo, buz kashi-a centuries-old game of unknown origin. Descendants of the superb horsemen who fought Alexander in Bactria clash on a field at Mazar-i-Sharif. To score a point, the team must carry the calf around a pole and then drop it in one of the field's two goal circles. Snowy pigeons fill the square of the Blue Mosque at Mazar-i-Sharif. If a bird of another color lands here, says a Moslem legend, it immediately turns white.