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Himalaya

Day 3: South to Darra Adam Khel

Darra, Pakistan 
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Gunsmith. Darra, North-West Frontier.
Michael Palin - HimalayaOne of the twin pillars of Pathan tribal society is the concept of melmastia hospitality. Unfortunately, the other is badal revenge which can be swift and violent and provoked by as little as a glance at someone else's wife.

A few miles due south of Peshawar, we're halted at a barrier marking the transition between what are called the Settled Areas and the Tribal Areas. Beyond this our Peshawar police escort has no jurisdiction, so they are replaced by thinner, less well-equipped Tribal police who seem delighted to see us. We pull out behind them onto a busy road full of toiling over-loaded trucks heading south in the direction of Karachi.

In the fields veiled women bend in rows, cutting sheaves of corn, and beside the road schoolboys are playing cricket in their uniform blue shalwar-kameez, the combination of long shirt over loose baggy trousers that is Pakistan's national dress.

Darra High Street, described by Geoffrey Moorhouse as 'the noisiest street in the world', runs for almost a mile and is filled with the roar of horn-blaring, gear-changing trucks punctuated by the crackle of gun-fire.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 3: South to Darra Adam Khel
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Darra Adam Khel
  • Book page no: 18

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