Kevin Swains
Travel Website
This is Kev's Travel Blog


Peshawar is a frontier city nestling closely to Afganistan with access over the legendary Kyber Pass.
Peshawar also has a bad name amongst the relative few travellers who venture into Pakistan. It's a devout Muslim Pashtu speaking town full of Afganis, many of them refugees and to liven things up a bit more large sections of the outskirts are closed to foreigners as it's a tribal area.
Peshawar is probably the most fasinating city on the Indian sub-continent. It has an incredible maze of alleyways in the old city and getting lost is all part of the fun.
The buildings in the old city were built by the British and fill the conjested alleyways. In the packed main bazzars colourful trucks, busses and auto rickshaws jostle for position.

Pakistai Flags
Pakistan flags for sale ready for the August 14th
independence day celebrations.

I set off for a walk into the old city. I still don't know what to expect here. I jump on the local bus, it's segregated like 90% of busses in Pakistan, boys at the back and girls at the front. The women around here tend to wear the burqa, the one size fits all tent like uniform. I look at them and think of Skooby Doo. Every time skooby catches a ghost it's always the hotel manager with a blanket chucked over his head with 2 eyes holes cut into it!

The last time I was here was the only time I felt a little uneasy for being British. Now with the war in Afganistan and all the negative media hype one can only but feel a little uneasy. Afterall, if any anti western feeling is to be displayed anywhere in Pakistan it will be in Peshawar or in the southeren city of Quetta and trouble isn't all that rare these days.
I pass through Kyber bazzar to a hail of welcomes and hellos. I duck into the alleyways and get a constant stream of offers of chai or Pepsi. I take many but refuse the majority. My speed through the bazzars is almost static because of the friendliness of the locals.

Peshwari Locals
Friendly locals are always wanting their photo took.

But this goes back to what I was saying in the Pakistan introduction. The Pathans are from a tribal background and hosptality is king but tommorrow everything could change quickly and my reception wouldn't be so friendly.

Peshwari Kids
Kids posing after playing in the filthy river.

I pop down to the smugglers bazzar where contraband is smuggled in from Afganistan. It's all pretty boring these days being quite modern with concrete stalls in rows. The most fasinating part is the sign saying 'no foreigners allowed beyond this point' indicating the start of the tribal areas. The first five shops past the checkpost are gun shops and hasheesh is sold freely....literally....only US2.8/GBP 1.50/AUD 3.8 per tolla for the best Afgani available.

Chapati Wallah
Chapati wallah.

I'm staying in the infamous tourist hangout of the Tourist Inn Motel. It's reputation is heading downhill these days but it's a good place to meet other travellers and get some up to date info etc. It's more like a drug den. There's always a comunal joint going around. I remember when I first stayed here 5 years ago. I could smell the Hasheesh before I could see the hotel. I was rather shocked back then:)


Gold Market
Gold bazzar in the old town. Peshawar.

Peshawar grows on me rapidly. Hand on heart I can honestly say that it's the friendliest place I have ever visited. Maybe I've changed since my last visit. Now I'm well old and often too wise for my young years and maybe I get a little more respect than a nubile 20something might get?
Whichever way it is I decide to stay in
Peshawar for independance day celebrations. Thats 7 days here!

Cinema Paintings
Hand painted sign outside a cinema. Upto now no Bollywood films have
been allowed to be screened in Pakistan. This will change on August 20th.