Published: May 27th 2007May 27th 2007
limited photos due to the redonculous heat
Imagine being in a sauna turned up to the max. Despite the marvellous sites to visit in south-western Iran, I was dying to the point that nicotine addiction didnt take effect, and locals (and tourists) were laughing at how beetroot red i'd become due to the scorching heat. I sadly don't tan due to my dad's genes, I just roast like a suckling pig.
In the Persian language, '-stan' is translated to 'the place of'. Hence to this day, we have countries and provinces which used to be part of the humongous Persian Empire, ending with such (eg. Kurdistan - 'place of the kurds'...ok, you got me).
My second trip to Iran focused on the west, where it seemed that majority of the provinces were called 'something-a-rather-stan'. Touring around national borders was absolutely fantabulous, as you could check out mixtures of cultures and purchase the jovial black-market booze seeping in around Kurdistan (Whoops, didnt tell you that). Furthermore, the English language just doesnt work here, even the universal 'hello' or 'how much?' - thus, it's a brilliant way to brush up your awkward mixture of Farsi, Turkish, Kurdish and Azeri (ie. I was screwed - locals mixed all
this is the one entrance out of the four that gave access to the top of the ziggurat. VIP gate, i suppose
beginning in the scorching 50 deg. celsius heat down south in Ahvaz, I was completely demented after four transfers, despite the wonderful service and sexy flight attendants on Emirates (oh and 500 programs to choose from? perfect for the insomniac!!!). The province of Khuzestan, where 'Khuze' translates to 'sugar cane' is rich in oil wells. But heavens, off to Choga-Zanbil first, the Elamite Ziggurat!
It looks like an Egyptian slash Mayan pyramid with its steps and gateways. There was even a sun-dial and specially reserved stairways for the priests. The ziggurat used to be coated in phosphorus contained blue paint, hence making the structure glow at night like a highlighter! only little remnants of the paint remains, and I could sadly only come across one brick that displayed it.
As much as I wanted to enjoy the magnificent site, I was close to passing out due to sunstroke. Sunscreen? Oh forget it, the sunlight literally fries through to your veins and you finally understand the sensation of being microwaved. Along with a headscarf and long skirt, you just begin to question your very existence while you start hallucinating and see stars in front of your eyes.
doing a 360 degree walk around the ziggurat
Saunas will begin to look like a joke.
So there you go - why spend heaps of funds to go through an authentic spa experience in Scandinavia when you can sweat it all out in sexy Khuzestan while checking out ziggurats, oldest arches in human history (at Tepe Haft) and giggling about getting high on Iranian saffron???;)
(And in all honesty, I dont know what more is contained in Iranian saffron, but saffron-sugar in your tea, ice cream etc has crazy side-effects. For one thing, you will be very, VERY happy for a few hours.)
There are more photos below