THE ARDENT ENTHUSIAST

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Back in the 1970s, when I lived in Kabul, one of our favorite night’s out involved dinner at the Green Hotel and an evening of live Afghan music played by the rebab master Amir Mohammad Jaan. When I was in Peshawar in 2006 my Afghan friend Attaullah Khan told me that Amir Mohammad Jaan was in town and that he was coming to Attaullah’s penthouse carpet shop on the top floor of… Read More

An abridged version of this a post first appeared on Atlas Obscura             I first visited Herat in the summer of 1972, after taking four locals buses from Mashhad, Iran to the Afghan border at Islam Qala, and one more minibus into the city. I had just spent nearly two weeks traveling overland from Europe through the intense desert heat. The dry, earthy smell I always associated with Afghanistan – dried human… Read More

Tibetan Turquoise Beads

General Introduction When did humans first start wearing beads and why did they start? According to Lois Sherr Dubin, in the The History of Beads (2009, p. 19): “… the earliest known beads are associated with Middle Paleolithic people. They were discovered at Skhul Cave on Mount Carmel and have been dated to approximately 108,000 B.C., at about the time Homo sapiens populations were replacing the Neanderthals and developing new and more complex cultures.” Both those beads… Read More

“The third stage, above the barracks, consisted of warehouses, bakeries, kitchens, and other residential rooms. The view from this stage is magnificent, but the way to it should only be attempted by the most ardent enthusiasts” Nancy Hatch Dupree [describing the climb to the top of Shar-i-Zohak, the ruins of a castle destroyed by Genghis Khan, at the entrance to the Bamiyan Valley] – An Historical Guide to Afghanistan  (1977) ************************************** August… Read More

The author at Ahmad Shah Massoud’s tomb in the Panjshir Valley –  September 2012