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April 4, 2010

Much Belated Peshawar Trip post:

Sorry for the delay in posting, much has been happening. I am currently in Peshawar for my second visit, my first was the weekend of March 21st. My father’s friend Dr. Khan has completely opened his home to me, and Ive utterly fallen for Peshawar. There is nothing quite like walking around somewhere and being literally the only westerner out and about. Those westerners that are still working in Peshawar do so behind closed doors, sandbags and armed guards. I never felt in danger, although at one point people were so intrigued by my presence in the market that they surreptitiously began taking pictures on cell phones. Here is a photo- montage of my Peshawar Adventures. With the lovely Mahjabeen as my guide I visited the Storytellers Bazaar (really old wonderful market with narrow winding streets), The Smuggler’s Market (the end point for so much of the supplies intended for US troops in Afghanistan) and Kouchi Bazaar for fabulous cloth.

Date Seller, Storytellers Bazaar, Peshawar

Spices, Storytellers Bazaar

the narrow streets of Storytellers Bazaar

Peshawar is full of soldiers, women in blue and pink burkas–front part lifted over their heads to shop, and men. Thats one of the most startling things Ive noticed in during my time in Pakistan, there are so many men around and so few women out and about. The pink and blue burkas Ive seen are really quite beautiful, with delicate embroidery all over and delicate mesh netting over the eyes. I did not feel comfortable photographing these women, although when I smiled they smiled back very openly and warmly.

Brothers Abdullah and Adil Khan

Abdullah, the crack shot with one of his favorites!

On Saturday night Mahjabeen got me all dolled up and the five of us went to a wedding, the Barat, the theme was Pink and the dancing was wonderful

Abuda and I dressed for the wedding

Mahjabeen, Abdullah and I, pre-wedding

my wonderful host Dr. Arshad Khan 🙂

lovely Mahjabeen, who made sure I attended the wedding in style

The next day we went to one of the spots I’d heard most about, The Peshawar Smugglers Market. It is right on the border of Peshawar and the Tribal Areas, and the crossing is very busy. The Sitara Market sells everything you can possibly imagine, and then ten things above that–all smuggled in from supply convoys in Afghanistan. It is definitely not a tourist destination and we decided that I should probably just be quiet and wear my headscarf. It worked! with one shopkeeper asking if I was Mahjabeen’s daughter 🙂 Some of the stores were orderly and sold specific things; only cleaning products, tons of food, toiletries. But many of them were just a jumble of stolen goods. For the first time in months I laid eyes on Jiff Peanut Butter, every American Candy Ever Made, and (sadly) lots of Foreign Aid…packets of baby formula from CanadianAid and Tea Packets from USAID (boldly stating “A Present From The American People, Not For Resale Or Exchange”. US Army socks and guns and board games…very overwhelming.

Sitara Market Bounty

TEA AID, Peshawar

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kashif Zeshan permalink
    May 23, 2013 8:38 pm

    you have been wonderful in expressing about the real beauti of Peshawar. Peshawar being my birth place, I am thankful for that. I hope you keep on going with your ever enchanting adventures.

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