Shake it, don't break it!

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Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan
November 15th 2000
Published: October 1st 2005
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Last day in Esfahan and the schedule is padded with lots of air. We start out at the Esfahan Jame Mosque and the nearby bazaar. The mosque itself is full of pigeons and has some damage from an Iraqi air raid. Farzaneh describes her own memories of similar attacks. We have a quick glance through the bazaar along the way. I am always on the lookout for more portraits of the Ayatollahs and the president, having acquired a small collection already. One interesting and unusal type of shops are the ones that specialize in wedding equipment. What catches the eye is a number of big ornamented table stand mirrors in white, silver or golden colour.

Another oddity is the mosque with the shaking minarets which is our next stop. Having wandered around Naqsh-e-Jahan Square the other day this feels comparatively small. Its claim to fame are the two small minarets on the top of the roof. You can walk up on the roof and start pushing and shoving each of them and they will start to vibrate. Not wanting to be known and remembered as the khareji who bulldozed this peculiar memorial to the ground I only give one of them a slight push and keep my distance a bit just in case. I am a firm believer in Murphy's Law.

The last item on the agenda is the Zoroastrian Ataxerxes fire temple, perched on a hill overlooking the city. While it is not exactly an Everest trek it still demands some concentration reaching it, and my party prefers to stay on the ground while I climb the sandy slope. The temple itself looked more spectacular from below, but the view of the city is quite nice from here. As we return for lunch we pass through the local bird garden, an area by a river where people like to go picnicing, and we can spot the odd heron in the brush. The rest of the day is free to spend as you so choose. I don't really have much of an agenda but go for a walk around the local blocks which takes longer than expected. I rest a bit in the afternoon and then return outside again in the evening. I return to the Internet café around 8 pm but still no messages for me. I go console myself with some ice cream from a small shop and end up in a conversation with the owners interpreted through an old German traveller who is passing by.

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