Published: February 15th 2011January 20th 2011
Had earlier considered a day visit to Kashan, before heading south by buses; however, these plans fall apart, so I change itinerary and ask Elham to look into a flight to Shiraz, thinking that the LPIran itinerary would be best to follow and eventually leave me working my way north by some combination of buses, bus tours and taxis. In this way, I would be working my way back to Tehran for my Feb3 departure rather than travelling away from my point of final departure from Iran (this approach was learned in Korea – risky ventures first and early in journey and small short trips last, so you remain close to home prior to final departure).
I find this a more suitable plan of attack for travelling to the cities of Shiraz, Persepolis, Yazd, Isfahan, Abyaneh and Kashan.
My Mahan Airways flight costs only about 70,000 toman and I get a lift to the airport for a 1:30 pm departure. Elham’s father and Morteza’s eldest brother, Mehdi, delivers the ticket and we walk to Ferdosi St. to get me a taxi running more directly to the Merhabad International Airport, close to the Azadi Monument and the bus station in the northeast of the city; he also negotiates fare that included a stop to take a photo of the monument.
On the 65 min. flight, I chat to Ali in the seat next to me. He is a Shirazian now living in Tehran going to see family and he advises me what to see in the city.
In Arrivals at Shiraz Airport, a tourist office helps me find Hotel Hafez for 25 toman/night, and I end up paying 47,000 toman total for 2 nights stay.
A short taxi ride to the hotel and I just drop my things, before ‘je fais le tour’ of Shiraz. I head to the Bazaar for starters, not a bad place to start in any city and this proves equally to be the case for Shiraz.
After walking for a few hours and eating a kabab, I make my way back to the Hafez and my rather small unwelcoming, but clean if not cozy, room.
I meet an interesting old man, Mohammed Madi, who wants me to take him on as a guide. He takes me to the Masjed-e Vakil Mosque; too bad that the light is falling fast and photos are not going to be as well exposed as I would like – damn camera shake – also wish I had brought a zoom lens. I pay Mohammed 50,000IRR for his time and agree to meet him tomorrow, jom’e, for a tour of all of the mosques and other sites. More importantly, however, a driver, Ahmed, is arranged to take me to Persepolis, Pasargadae, Naghsh-e Rostam and Naghsh-e Rajab and then on to Isfahan, all for a bit more money than I would care to admit XX toman. Is this a good price? Well, it doesn’t really matter now, does it? It is a done plan.
I eat an early dinner at the Hafez Hotel later that evening before turning in for the night. All the TV is in Farsi and there are no matches to watch which I can follow, despite the Farsi language telecast.
Early 8:00 am meeting at the Vakil mosque with Mohammed.
PS. Well, as only would happen to someone like me, I think that loading some of my photos from Shiraz may turn out to be problematic. It is a technical "incapability" of mine. Will search about for them on the multitude of locations. Picasa is such a bitch!