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Published: August 12th 2007
A peep from a rooftop window into the bazar
These words I hear about 50 times a day, than there is the "where are you from question" and the "what is your name" or "how are you"... That I get about 20 times a day... I seem to stick out with my blond hair in this country... But it's all in good fun...
While waiting for the Pakistani visa, Vojta (Czech traveller) and I decided to take a break from Tehran and head down to Kashan for a day or two.. Kashan is a very pleasant city with a nice bazaar... You can climb to the roof of the bazaar and have great views of the city at sunset... It also has a nice teahouse situated in a converted hammam and some huge 19th century mansions from rich merchants and the like... It's good that these guy's could have several wives because cleaning these houses on your own would take several years... Also got to see a zurkhaneh, an ancient sport unique to Iran, which involves men doing all kinds of feats of strength, some involving utensils which look like oversized bowling pins... This is accompanied by drumbeats and singing and lots of speeches... Most of the talking done
Vojta, Me and Fabrice sharing tea and a waterpipe in the converted Hammam-e Khan in the bazar
at the end, with the men chanting there approval, it reminded me a little of English parliament, where after somebody says something good everybody shouts "Here, here...” only this was of course in Iranian... Very amusing indeed...
When we got back from Kashan we could finally pick up our Pakistani visa and I left the same evening on a night bus to Shush in the south of the country. It is an old city, ones the capital of the mighty Achaemenid empire some 3000 years ago... It is also where Daniel is buried, he who fought with some lions in the bible and seems to have had some tender love with the prince of the Eunuchs... The things you learn when travelling!! Anyway, my main objective was to get to Choqa Zanbil, an ancient Elamite ziggurat (the Elamite Empire is from before the Achaemenids, who conquered them...) No tourists around and it is situated in splendid isolation on a treeless field, and very hard to get to with public transport, which means I had to use the dastardly taxis again!
After this I went to Shiraz, which is expensive, so instead of spending 3 day's there as my
Soltaniyeh Mosque within the bazar
plan was, I only spend one night there... One day looking around town and the next visiting Persepolis, probably Iran's biggest tourist attraction... And it is impressive!
And now I am in Esfahan which according to an Old Persian saying contains "half the world"... It certainly is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen in my life... Imam Square in particular seems to contain more than it's fair share of architectural gems.
Perhaps there is just one thing missing to make it perfect and that would be watching the sun go down from the tea house at one of the ends of the square or at one of the bridges at the river with an ice cold beer instead of a hot tea... But I suppose a waterpipe will have to do...
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