Friday, November 12, 2010

I Heart Herat

A tiled tower at the tomb of Queen Goharshad.
A wonderful mix of old and new; a bombed-out Russian tank, Jaala and Fatema in chador, and a new, shiny apartment building.
Standing on the edge of the tomb of Queen Goharshad; Aqila and Jaala clowning in front of the ancient minarets.
Alexander the Great's Citadel.
Looking out of the Citadel into the old city.
Local Heratis using the taxi to its fullest.
Lovely, clean, tree-lined road in Herat.

I love Herat too much.

I love it so much that I would drop everything to return to its blend of old and new; ancient and contemporary. I would don a chador and sell all of my belongings to walk along its clean wide avenues, munching on Iranian candy and cream puffs. I love it so much, my heart skips a beat when I think about the juicy secrets that could be revealed in the crumbling minarets, the damp, dark tombs, the restored Citadel of Alexander the Great, and the intricately tiled Friday mosque. I would return to the city just to inhale the smell of the well-stocked book stores and to wander through the stylish mall. I find myself out of breath thinking about the smooth, kind Persian the locals speak there; it soothes my ears like warm honey coating a sore throat. I lose my head recalling the temperate, crisp air and the softness of twilight shining through the sturdy branches of thousands of pine trees. I can't imagine anything more comforting than a Herati smile. It is embarrassing trying to write about the place; I feel as though I am revealing the details of a sordid romantic affair. Suffice to say it is my new favorite place in Afghanistan. Before I left, I was already making plans to return. No wonder my computer tries to change Herat to Heart each time I type the name of this magical city...

I do, I do... Herat!

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At 1:57 PM , Blogger benyhna said...

GEE WHIZ! Jaala, I love you and miss you. I'm glad that you're having the experience of a lifetime. I hope that you come home ready to engage in some late night conversations about our experiences. Stay safe, and be great!


At 6:59 AM , Blogger Jaala Thibault said...

Hi Ben! Love you too! I REALLY miss CFV and the community there. I think about you all often and I will never forget how awesome you are--both inside and outside of the gym. I wish that your experience in Afghanistan could have been more like mine, but we will definitely be balanced in our experiences when we combine stories!
love thugs (remember?)

At 4:31 AM , Blogger Yosuf said...

A pink Hi to my unique professor ,

You look like an afghan girl its great i dont know how you feel in afghan Chader ?

Yosuf Warastah

At 8:56 PM , Blogger Tamy said...

Great photos! But honestly, I can't imagine why you'd want to be somewhere where you are forced to cover yourself.

At 7:12 AM , Blogger Jaala Thibault said...

Hi Tamy,
My love of Herat is relative. I totally disagree with the chadar and burqa; they are both related to men's power over and subjugation of women. But being here sometimes I need to forget about this obvious fact in order to really understand and enjoy each place that I go to. In forgetting about the huge overlying problem of women's rights (just for a moment!), I loved the people and feel of Herat. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to move there and stay. But I did love the immense amount of history and the willingness of the people to change and rebuild after years of war. The people have a vision of a better society, especially the younger generation. There is hope in Herat...and I think the chadar and burqa will leave this city first because of this. That is why I loved Herat.

At 6:54 PM , Blogger Tamy said...

Ok, I can respect your doing it "when in Rome," and from your comments, maybe you're having a positive influence on their potential change toward women's rights. Stay safe.


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