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Paul's Mental Workshop- images, Northwest Frontier & Afghanistan

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Paul and Zahir This strange bird is walking around Zahir's walled garden with a few chickens. When I asked him if it was a pet he said no, they keep them for the same reason as the chickens, to eat. One of Pakistan's customised, colourful buses. Believe it or not, this is the front, not the back, the tiny bit of clear glass visible is all the driver has to see out! Another of Peshawar's buses 2 Another of Peshawar's buses. Street of gold jewellers in Peshawar. Entrance to an old caravanserai where traders from all parts would rest, feed their animals & store goods before going to market. Skinny horse, midget donkey on one of Peshawar's streets. Bazaar, Peshawar. Butcher A wheel-barrow somebody went to some trouble to decorate with home-made ornaments. Children Chowk Yadgaar, bazaar with the old Mughal (17th C) Mosque rising in the background. One of the older wagons that still uses wooden wheels. Old building Peshawar. Peshawar A room of Mahabat Khan's Mosque the only remaining mosque from the Mughal reign (Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal). Though its minarets tower above the streets of the Ander Sher bazaar, its entrance is a small & difficult-to-find doorway between shops. Sitting outside another more understated but amazing old mosque. Little boy driving little donkey. Unfortunately I was chased away by an irate worshiper when I tried to get more photos of this mosque but the four pillars like the one pictured, held up a beam made of a single piece that was at least 30 metres long & a few hundred years old, inside- three more of equal length. A bit of the old city wall in the distance. Happy children! This market, beside the railroad tracks in Peshawar, is selling metallic streamers that look like Christmas tree tinsle but are in-fact for decorating the graves of recently deceased (I suppose flowers are too few & shrivel too fast in the blazing sun...?). The same stall sells garlands of decoratively arranged small notes (typically, 20 rupee bills) which are placed around the necks of the recently returned, the bridegroom at a wedding or a man celebrating the opening of a new business & suchlike. I loved the dentists though I was glad I had no toothache! Another dentist, what you see is what you get, this is reception, examination room & store. The dentist usually sits in one of the kitchen chairs until he vacates to let the patient sit. The indistinct yellow things in the foreground are molds of people's mouths. Little girls carrying water down from a spring in the foothills of the Hindukush. A fellow ironing with a hot coal iron for anyone who brings something. One of the many self-styled 'arms dealers', pictured: a Kalashnakov. More gun shops. Takht Bhai (throne-water, the throne is the mountain peak it sits upon, water is that mountain's freshwater spring) Buddhist monastery built & used from sometime after the Buddha's death & the 5th century. Important Gandhara sculpture was unearthed here. Takht Bhai-2.Friends taking turn cooling each other down. A beautiful example of ancient Gandhara sculpture at Takht Bhai. One of the mud & wattle villages of the Khyber pass. What these men are doing (& there were 100's lining the road) is: making gravel from rocks, using hammers. First glimpse of snow as we work our way to higher altitudes of the Hindukush. Hindukush, like parts of Canada. Hindukush, the cradle of civilization. Layered stone & wood masonry made in such a way that the mortarless wall was the same width all the way up, I haven't seen the like anywhere else. We eventually changed to a Jeep & went to the Ushu valley above 7000 metres, 21,000 ft. On our way back down we were stopped twice by rockslides, this one took two days to clear. The people making cursory & innefective attempts to clear the boulders are other drivers. The Afghani version of trucks. Afghan trucks 2 Afghani trucks- note the wooden doors. Afghani Shopping centre, Peshawar. Hindukush mountains Chapal maker, Souat. Shop, Kamal. Men caught in the street when the muezin called to prayer. The only shot of the military aeroplane that came out, there was not enough light once the cargo bay (background) closed.

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