NIOPDC?


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Middle East » Iran » East » Yazd
November 12th 2000
Published: November 1st 2005
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Time to go sightseeing the desert again. We leave Kerman early morning heading northwest for Yazd province and the capital Yazd. Today's route goes deep into the plains and we will not be encountering very many towns along the road. The only major town we will pass through is Rafsanjan, the hometown and stronghold of course of the previous president Rafsanjani. We pick up some pistachios from a merchant selling them by the roadside from the trunk of his car. From then on it is a straight road into the desert, a route which seems to be quite popular with the trucks. I am intrigued by the initials NIOPDC appearing on a tanker and spend a good while on cracking the abbreviation. And you thought I was reading Almqvist...

Out here in the middle of nowhere we happen upon an old caravansaray, or ancient camel-era motel if you will. Climbing the roof and sitting watching the distant mountains and small coloured spots representing trucks on the highway is very relaxing and tickles the imagination.

Following the return of the 12th Imam today is a bank holiday and many shops are closed. As we arrive in Yazd we learn that the city centre has been closed for traffic, forcing Mr. Hoseyn to do some alleyway maze trekking to find the way to the Friday mosque. We cruise down narrow streets and back roads full of playing children until finally having to get off and continue on foot. The Jame mosque itself has two tall minarets shooting high into the sky making picture taking a bit challenging. We also visit the peaceful Dowlat Abad garden and the aptly titled Towers of Silence. These towers are situated on the outskirts of town on the tops of some small hills. They are big circular halls without roof, used as burial grounds by the ancient Zoroastrians. The remains of people would be carried to the stone floor of a tower where they could avoid contaminating the divine elements of earth, water and fire. It does seem a bit complicated.

Back downtown we walk around the busy streets outside the big mosque. Yazd is the hometown of president Khatami, and on visiting home he would sometimes appear here to speak to the crowds. We're having dinner in an old public bath house that has been renovated into a popular restaurant. One of the peculiarities on the menu is metballs, or should I say meatball, because in my bowl there is only one tennis ball sized piece of meat splashing about in some kind of bouillon soup. It is tasty but a bit tricky to eat with only a spoon.


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