You don’t often see a man cheerily quaffing from a half-pint mug on a street corner in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
But the drink in this gentleman’s hand is as innocent as a newborn kitten.
It’s called aloo bukhara juice, and contains tamarind and dried plums, or prunes, if you prefer.
Summer’s reaching a punishing peak here – it’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit – so I assumed he was just drinking to keep cool.
But a sign on the wall behind him explains that aloo bukhara offers other benefits:
It “comforts the heart; increases the appetite; keeps your stomach in good order; boosts your iron count; subdues burning in the hands, feet or chest; protects you from jaundice, and is a panacea for any illness caused by an ailing liver.”
That’s pretty hard to resist so I forked out the equivalent of 20 cents, and tried a glass. I found it very sweet, with a rather overpoweringly pungent spicy bouquet — in other words, an acquired taste.
Less comforting to the heart was another sign on a nearby wall: “The holy jihad will continue until Doomsday”.