Afghanistan 2012 day 11: Herat Street life

We had a wonderful lie in with breakfast delivered to our doors at 8am (chai, bread, cream cheese and cherry jam). The morning was already blisteringly hot (38 degrees) and our walk to the nearby Friday Mosque (alt: Jama Masjid or Masjid-i Jami’) quickly dehydrated us as we were unable to drink water in public.

Herat tt (23)The main road to the mosque was lined with hundreds of small shops selling fake flower arrangements, wedding gifts, weaving (done on the premises by men), leather harnesses and holsters, spices, kitchen goods, bread, cakes, fruit, nuts and even guns. Pavement sellers were everywhere.







The pavements were broken and sometimes steep and uneven, making it near impossible to take any decent photos on the move without either tripping up or bumping into someone. Everyone stared at us and a few brave men greeted us but the chador clad women hurried past, with only a quick peek back at us.



Herat tt (33)


It was such a crowded, noisy scene – far too complex to take everything in. G had his pocket picked within 20 minutes of setting out but luckily it was only the small notes he saved to give to beggars. Every time we stopped a crowd would gather around us, fascinated by everything we did and said.





It was also hard to ignore the dozens of badly disabled beggars, many with missing limbs due to war and the legacy of landmines, and the sad burkha swamped widows who rely on the kindness of passers-by.

Herat old souk warehouse tt (21)

Herat old souk warehouse

We didn’t go into the old city – a warren of thousands of houses and shops – as only a small part of the original bazaar remains. Instead we skirted around it and watched the weavers (beautiful silk scarves and large cotton lengths), wandered into a few antique shops (window shopping only), before arriving at the beautiful Friday Mosque.





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