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Day 2: Peshawar

Pakistan, Dental Alley 
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Michael Palin - HimalayaThere is a sudden flurry of movement. Traders pick up their wares and abandon their pitches, as, preceded by a lugubrious wail, a diesel locomotive looms up from nowhere, towering above the crowds and heading for the very heart of the market. At the very last minute, and with considerable reluctance, the throng parts to allow the nine o'clock to Karachi to continue its 1100-mile cross-country journey.

No sooner has the last coach rumbled through than the market reassembles, with little more than a vague irritation on the part of the traders that they should have to share their railway track with trains.

Peshawar, whose name means 'The Place at the Frontier', is the first big city on the Pakistan side of the Khyber Pass and was once encircled by a stout protective wall, with 16 gates to allow travellers and merchants through. One of the first places they gathered was Qissa Khwani Bazaar, which means Storyteller Street, for it was here that voyagers to and from the west would swap tales of the outside world.

Today, Storyteller Street has become Dental Alley. In between the photocopiers, money-changers and electric fan shops is a profusion of premises hung with painted signs depicting gleaming gnashers clamped tight between wholesomely pink gums.
Pakistan, Dental Alley 
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 2: Peshawar
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Peshawar
  • Book page no: 15

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