June 6, 2009
Near my hotel, on a narrow stone street lies a pile of mud. The neat, circular pile is no accident. It is no children's play area. What is it?
The mud pie is a construction site, or more properly, the preparation area. Workmen shovel the mud, mixed with straw, into straw baskets that they carry away to a pulley and rope. The mud is hoisted up to the top of a building. They are making repairs to a wall using the ancient, time-tested method.
The same thick walls of mud protect the Ayaz-Qala, a group of fortresses dating back to the Sixth Century. The impressive ruins of the qala sit up on a hillside and dominate the surrounding desert.