Blogs from Esfahan, West, Iran, Middle East - page 5

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Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan June 18th 2008

Here I am in the middle of Iran, in Isfahan. But first let me take you back to my arrival in Tehran at IKA airport, because you have some catching up to do. Sitting on the flight, wondering what was awaiting. The stories some people told, women never travel on their own, you will not be able to get about without a driver and interpreter, and of course, is Iran safe?, all are easily batted away with facts and figures when on solid land, but once in the air there was no going back. I was sitting next to an Iranian woman, hijab already firmly in place, though manteau folded neatly on her lap and a blond looking westerner. We started talking and I learnt R and her husband B, who was from Ireland, had lived ... read more
War Memormural, Tehran
Tehran streetscene
Inside the National Museum of Iran, Tehran

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan June 10th 2008

Crossing the border from Pakistan was no trouble at all and I was ushered through in less than an hour, it was once I was in Iran however that things started to get more complicated. I was issued with an army officer and told that from now on for my own safety he would travel with me. This didn't make much sense because it is far more dangerous on the Pakistani side and I had no guard there, but I had no choice in the matter so off we headed. On the way to Zahedan (The first big town on the Iranian side) we passed a number of checkpoints and at each I was issued with a new guard along with the accompanying paperwork which meant a lot of standing around on my part. Finally arriving ... read more
Beautiful tilework in a Mosque in Yazd
Roof inside the Jameh Mosque in Esfahan
Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan November 19th 2007

Tehran - Esfahan Tehran. Twelve million people crammed into a city carved out of the desert and ringed by towering mountains. The only city I’ve ever visited where you literally can’t see the ground as the plane taxis into land due to the intense, hack-inducing, mouth-drying pollution. You can actually see the dense hazy layer hovering just above the buildings... And the traffic. Having been to places like Moscow, Beijing and Hanoi, I thought that I’d pretty well seen the worst that the drivers of this world could throw at you. Nothing compares to Tehran. Sure, Moscow had those Ladas weaving haphazardly across six lanes as the dozy pensioner behind the wheel swigged on his bottle of vodka. At least the Russians have booze to account for the 25 000 killed on their streets every ... read more

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan September 2nd 2007

Shiraz (Persepolis) - Yazd - Esfahan - Kashan - Tehran If George W. Bush wants to know where Iran is hiding its nuclear facilities, I can tell him. I have seen one of them on the A80 highway between Esfahan and Kashan. Iran is proud of its nuclear ambitions and makes no secret of where much of the work is taking place. After passing through, I read that the president ordered the sites be opened for passing tourists to explore. Should Bush & friends choose to drop bombs on the site as they have threatened to now & then, they may run into a little trouble; the whole area, for miles around, is protected by thousands of anti-aircraft guns. Tourists may be welcome but foreign intervention is not. If you have ever tired of hearing about ... read more
Handpainted Plate
Good Thoughts, Good Deeds, Good Words
Market Trader

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan August 25th 2007

My 54-year-old Japanese mother was inspired by my recent Iran photos to take me on a mother-daughter bonding trip to Tokyo Disneyland. Why? Because the mosques reminded her of Aladdin, and she was eager to experience the 'Arabian Coast' of Disney Sea and go on the 'Small world' esque ride called 'Sindbad's Adventures'. After ice cream and wearing ridiculous Aladdin and Jafar hats, we sat down for some fierce chainsmoking (hiding from Mickey and the screaming kids) to compare Disney and Iranian architecture. So then, speaking of huge colorful domes, sparkling tilework and magical fantasies all smooshed together on a grand scale, Esfahan would be the place. Compared with Paris by the French poet Reiner, with its eye-pleasing recreational promenades along rivers and parks, the famous epithet came about - Esfahan as 'Half of the world' ... read more
Imam Mosque, Esfahan
Esfahan
Esfahan

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan August 16th 2007

Hey everyone, Well it's been a while since I've posted anything. Was just too busy I guess, in my 3 weeks tour of Iran, loving it, hating it too cause of all the restrictions you're faced to especially as a woman, picking up some farsi words, very little, getting to know and love the Persian culture a little bit more each and everyday. Iranian people don't like to be reminded that Arab language and sometime culture is a bit similar to theirs, Iranian women trying to defy the system by wearing a scarf that doesn't cover their hair at all, and use it as a seductive tool, Iran the land where you can find anything from some wine, or stronger alcohol to hash and grass, very very easily, faster than getting a bottle of water as ... read more
Nasrallah
Remaining of what used to be the american embassy
In a typical shaikhouney

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan April 29th 2007

After spending the night in my hotel room packing the gifts and souvenirs I'd bought, the women came by for a visit to reopen them all over them and interrogate me for shopping information. Alas, after they rampaged through everything, I started to repack as I chainsmoked. Our last visit around Esfahan was to the Friday, or 'Jome' Mosque. This, Seyed explained, was a transliteral error by westerners, for its original name is 'Jame' - 'large, everyone's' Mosque. This Mosque happened to be partially damaged from the bombings during the Iran-Iraq War. JAME MOSQUE - Its entrance marked by the presence of hanging chains, signifying it as a sanctuary for all who seek it. Being the largest and oldest of the mosques in Esfahan, it housed numerous interesting architectural features. For instance, its original columns ... read more
By the Jame Mosque
Jame Mosque
Jame Mosque

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan April 27th 2007

The night we arrived in Esfahan, I prayed to any deity who would listen, to give us clear blue skies during our visit to Naqsh-Jahan Square in exchange for cutting down on cigarettes, booze (well that wasnt volountary) and the life of my ipod. Whoever it was, it worked. Our day exploring Isfahan was sunny as ever, the sky mimicking the colour of the beautiful blue domes and tiles. At last, I would be able to accomplish 2 points on my 'things to do before I expire' list: -Task#5: Moonwalk along at least half of the huge Square, to 'Billie Jean'. Yeoowww -Task#6: Sing Evita's 'Don't cry for me Argentina' - but for Naqsh-Jahan, from the balcony at Ali Capu palace. (luckily I dont have any photographic evidence for myself because I was so into ... read more
Vank Cathedral
Vank Cathedral
Vank Cathedral

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan April 27th 2007

Looking forward to visiting the Bazaar at Naqsh-i-Jahan square (literally meaning, 'Half of the World' in regards to its glory back in its Safavid days), the old ladies squealed in glee. Their way to shop at exotic markets, to put it simply, is as follows: - Find an item you just KNOW Mrs. Suzuki will be so jealous of, and can never obtain to rival you. - Push away everyone in any queue in front of you (including locals, fellow-countrymen, tourists) - Make sure the seller is a Man. Your charming japanese charms will definitely work in your advantage. If not, he is obviously blind. - Ignorantly never even try speaking the local dialect. Everyone around the world understands Japanese, of course. If not, it still doesnt matter. - Talk down prices while throwing in ... read more
Imam Mosque Entrance
buying delights at the Bazaar
View of the famous Square

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan November 8th 2006

ESFAHAN La “perla turistica” dell’Iran, tappa obbligata di qualunque tour nella terra di Persia. Arriviamo di prima mattina e dopo una breve ricerca troviamo un alberghetto opportunamente e comodamente posizionato rispetto ai luoghi di principale interesse: l’Aria Hotel :)! Qui la situazione cambia in meglio, il centro della citta’ è delizioso, tutto estremamente pulito, curato, MOLTO piacevole. La città è grande, circa 3 milioni di abitati; il suo centro è bagnato da un fiume orlato da decine di ponti, alcuni dei quali molto antichi e le numerose piazze, aiuole, moschee e parchi tutti incredibilmente curati fanno di Esfahan il posto ideale per qualunque tipo di turismo. Komehini square è un’enorme piazza, fra le più grandi al mondo, con giardini perfetti e fontane, circondata da due moschee, l’Ali Ghapu’ palace e l’entrata principale de... read more
La piazza centrale di Esfahan
Il fantastico ristorantino
La tea-house sul fiume




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