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

Winter Vacation – 2013-2014 – Thailand   Bangkok is an excellent place to buy gems and jewelry tools and a trip to Silom road is a great excuse to stop by the Afghan and Pakistani antique shops near the river. In addition my son had just finished the Diamond Appraising section of the GIA Graduate Gemologist course and he asked me to pick up some diamond tweezers if I could. I took… Read More

Thomas “Tom Bol” Guta and his Japanese wife, Nariko, were some of our best friends when we lived in Kathmandu Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1970s he revived the natural -dyed Tibetan carpet industry and in the 1980s and early 1990s he turned his artistic talents to reviving Chinese silk tapestry-woven Thangkas. While doing all this, and practicing the Dharma, and brewing chang, and working on his Ph.D at Tribhuvan… Read More

August 2012 – Bokhara, Uzbekistan The One that Got Away! I had finished reading Travels into Bokhara: The Narrative of a Voyage on the Indus Being an account of a Journey from India to Cabool, Tartary and Persia. (1834)  by Sir Alexander Burnes not long before I reached the Amulet Hotel.  It had originally been built as a madrasah for Islamic students to study philosophy and religion in the early 19th century by the famous… Read More