Afghan Souq – near Al Balad

DSC00120Recently we went on a tour to the Afghan Souq with Bander from “Nomad Tours“.  Having been on tours with Bander before I was looking forward to it.  However it was a very hot day.   When we arrived at our meeting place, we saw some of the women standing in the shade melting in their abaya’s. We had to wait for another bus full of women to come before we could start. Bander brought us all some water which was heartily welcomed. Finally we started walking past some of the shops in a small mall. As some of the women went past shops they stopped to buy hand fans, then began waving them madly to try and cool down.

tandoor breadWe were to walk to the end of the Afghan Souq first, then turn around and come back. On the way we stopped a shop that sold flat bread which was freshly cooked in a Tandoor oven. Bander gave each of us some to try. It was light and crispy on the outside and warm, fresh and soft on the inside.
On the way back we were able to go shopping.

Along the way there we saw children playing with click clacks. Big smiles and keen to get us to watch them.

We arrived at the start of  the Afghan Souq where there was a lot of basket weaving goods, water jugs and pots.Baskets

Next was an alleyway which had a fruit and veg market, selling all sorts of fresh vegetables and fruits and spices. A woman with heavily stained teeth was selling betel nut.

Butchering was also done in this alleyway. Meat was hanging up on doors. Fish were being chopped. The people were in a jovial mood and pulled funny faces for me to photograph.

cutting fish

leisAnother man was making intricate leis with fresh flowers.  He had a fridge which looked like an ice cream holder where he kept the flowers.

mirror frameOne of the shops I enjoy is the furniture shop. They have ornate, hand carved antique furniture and trinkets. Jewellery and other knick knacks. I bought this silver/copper mirror frame which had been lightly painted green. After I removed the paint it looked much better.

The carpet shop is always great to see with its beautiful hand made Persian, Afghany, Iranian, carpets and kilims.  We have bought a couple of carpets from here. Be sure to haggle the price.  It is also a great spot to get some traditional  Afghan clothes and caps. From here I got this  Afghan taqiyah (cap). Then I  got this lovely Afghan hand made wrap. I don’t know what I will do with it yet.

In the Bedouin store you can buy tent floor cushions, tables etc…all done in traditional Bedouin fabrics.

The Afghan Souq also has bright gold jewellery.  I still can’t get use to  the brightness of it.  To me it looks fake, but its much more pure than what I am use to seeing in Australia.gold souq

On the way back Bander bought some Saudi samosa’s  made of onion pepper, spices and lamb.  These get cooked on the inside wall of the Tandoor oven. They were yummy. Also he gave us some dumpling which melted in your mouth.

By the time we finished I think everyone was shopped out, tired and dehydrated from the heat. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable morning.

For those wanting to visit the Afghan Souq, it is better to go in the cooler time of the year as a lot of shops don’t have air conditioning.

Bander has lots of different tours to enjoy. Click Here to go to his facebook page for more details.

Afghan Souq

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