The Difference Between India and Pakistan

It has been more than two months since I crossed the Wagah border from Pakistan into the Land of spices. The border crossing hosts a dramatic daily flag exchange ceremony, where both countries display their rivalry in a parade. Yet apart from religion, much less differs between these countries than their antagonism seems to suggest. In fact, much of the … Read More

Inside Balochistan, Pakistan (Part 1)

“Stay here”, ordered the border officer, pointing with his machine gun to a chair next to me. The large blue panel above read “Welcome to Pakistan”. I had just entered the country from Iran in the south-western border of Taftan. The military officer made it clear that I wasn’t free to move on my own. From now on, I will … Read More

Giving an Ear to Others

  Nader and his mother Nader, from Iran, studies french litterature and is well versed in the writings of Camus and Sartres. I met him when I was resting in an iranian tea house. He spoke to me in perfect french, although he had never been in France before. “Come to my house”, said Nader in french, “You can sleep … Read More

Why Are Iranians So Kind ?

A morning climb The rising sun was just beginning to heat the air as I biked into the valley of Hanjan, some hundred kilometers south of Kashan. I was determined to climb the mountains and reach the small village of Abyaneh by noon. I drew in heavy breaths to lift my home up the windy slopes of the ochre brown … Read More

The Balkans : hardship is next door

The first real change in my trip happened when I crossed from Croatia to Bosnia. It was the first Muslim country since I left Paris. The minarets and the chanting prayer of the muezzin made me realize that I’ve entered a place whose religion and culture I don’t understand. The next abrupt change came as I passed the border from … Read More