There’s something almost hypnotic about watching a butcher at work. The blade flashes through the air, cutting expertly at mutton leg and shoulder, carving cubes and chops with a rhythmic thud, thud, thud as knife hits wooden block. As the speed increases, the butcher leans forward in his throne of planks. White flecks of fat fly and spots of blood over the butcher’s shoulder.
Which would be great, if said bits of gore were not landing close to where I was trying to eat my meat karahi, scooping lumps of meat up with thick, Afghan nan. Anyway, the food (eaten cross-legged on the floor) was almost as spectacular as the floorshow: thick, spiced gravy covering tender, slow-cooked mutton.
I’ll post the name of the restaurant – just around the corner from Chicken Street in Kabul – just as soon as I’ve found it.
I’ve found it: Shenwari
OK, it’s not so much a traffic warden as a bloke with a forklift truck but it’s roughly the same idea. Park in the wrong place and your car will magically have moved by the time you return. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. And it’s not the sort of thing that is likely to happen in, say, Mogadishu, where parking regulations are notoriously lax.
Postcards from Hell is my ironically titled list of things that are cool about Pakistan, my new home, or which contradict the notion that the country is some sort of failed state
In the interests of underscoring the tightness of relations between the US and Pakistan in the wake of last week’s WikiLeaks revelations, Cameron Munter, the American ambassador to Islamabad, went for breakfast in Lahore with three other Americans. I take you now to the press release….
“The United States-Pakistan relationship is strong. Pakistan’s government leaders talk to me openly and honestly and I speak with them in the same manner,” said Ambassador Munter. “We continue to work very closely with the Pakistani government.”
His wife’s reply is sadly not recorded. Anyway the release continues…
Among their activities, Ambassador Munter and Dr. Wyatt met with Governor Salmaan Taseer, opened a new Apple store, and were interviewed by leading Pakistani journalists about U.S.-Pakistan relations. They also participated in a roundtable discussion with women NGO leaders at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, where they discussed gender issues, as part of the United Nations’ international 16-day campaign against gender-based violence. In addition, they stopped at Zahir Tikka to have a breakfast of halva-puri, chanay, naan and lassi.
At this point things take a turn for the absurd.
Expressing admiration for the local specialties, Ambassador Munter said, “Pakistani people are spicy as well as sweet, very much like Lahori food.” He noted that he particularly enjoyed the chanay since he enjoys spicy food, which is similar to his native Californian cuisine. “It was great to have a real Lahori breakfast,” he said.
This concerns me on so many levels that I’m not sure where to begin. Anyway, having already accidentally given the game away on drones, it looks like the whole WikiLeaks saga has not prompted America’s man in Pakistan to begin watching what he says. Marvellous.