The guard barged into the house carrying what looked like a fluffy cat toy into the house. “Russia!” he boomed, smiling. He dropped the cat into the house and said, “Brother!” - and then he bought in another cat. They are big-eyed, silent and fluffy. The cutely attack each other. Does anybody want them? I’m in Islamabad.
A few months ago, I wrote about parliamentarian Ayesha Gulalai and how she'd been trolled in the media after she accused a prominent politician of sexual harassment. She alleged he had written inappropriate text messages, but would not present them. She also said that the party she once represented discriminated against women in general. She's now running for parliament in Pakistan's upcoming elections. She's formed a splinter party and has encouraged transgender women to join. It's unlikely to make much of a difference, but it's a reminder of Pakistan's forever-interesting, unwieldy politics.
Swat Valley Wonderland Park folks. Step right up. #pakistan
Boys play football on the dusty bank of the #swatvalley river. This is where, a decade ago, the Taliban burnt their TV sets in a fiery rejection of Western culture. They kept their radios though, spreading their influence through a pirate radio station in the nearby village of Imam Dherai. A latergram.
The Swat Valley should be gorgeous, pristine. It is, when it’s left alone. But here’s the Swat River, reeking of shit and drying up. And in town, instead of Venice-like canals for a city built on them, there’s concrete cemented over everything, barely a tree in sight and of course, garbage everywhere.
Pakistan should be beautiful.
This baffling walkway is just another odd mishmash of architecture at the Fatima Jinnah park in #Islamabad. Every time I walk through, I encounter another half-done bit of neglected abstract work that suggests ambition, corruption, slovenliness and wonder.
A shepherd in the #swatvalley. We walked alongside him on a narrow mountain road as cars beeped and men piled in the back of utes hollered at us. #pakistan
A man sells bags of offal on a bridge over the #Ravi river on the outskirts of #Lahore. I hear that people buy the offal to feed to the #kite birds that lazily menace the skies above the #Punjab. My colleague tells me that feeding the birds helps prayers come true. A latergram.
Réquiem for a virgin or two. Galicia, Spain.
We travelled to the place that the #Romans once called “The end of the land,” - the far northern corner of #Galicia. I saw some men brawl, got hit on by a friendly pilgrim on a bike, and bought crisps from the supermarket. Turns out the end is just like the middle and the start. #Spain.