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Last of the Summer - Oh hang on, thats not wine...


sunny 34 °C

OK I've been dragged in to an internet cafe and I'm not allowed to leave until I write something.

Under the care of Javad, who is a lovely, quiet, tender guy - we arrived in Yazd in the middle of the night and got picked up by his friend Mir Hossein, whos house we were (supposed to) stay at during our time in this historic desert town, whose old quarter is built entirely of mud.

We had a whistlestop tour of the main sights in town, but Javad and Mir Hosein seemed more intent on getting down to the business of meeting another friend, Mir Shamsy, for lunch. Little did we know exactly what that would entail.

So we pick up Mir Shamsy, and in no time we're driving out of Yazd and through the spectacular but arid mountains, stopping off for fruit & bread on the way, until we reach a remote village with a huge round house in the middle and a massive fruit / veg garden. Turns out to be Mir Shamsy's summertime playboy mansion. He inherited a lot of property from his businessman father, property that had escaped the grasp of the Ayatollah Khomenei at the time of the Islamic Revolution due to it being so remote. The garden is beatiful, we picked nectarines, almonds, grapes, tomatoes and peaches, and scoffed the lot on a rug in front of the house, washed down with rosewater, whilst naughty mr Shamsy told us about the parties he organises for his son up here. ahem.

After drinking a fair bit of bootleg vodka, and making a quick pass at Rachel (dealt with very professionally), Mir Shamsy leads us into the summer house where we retire for a very relaxing afternoon-evening with the hookah etc (say-no-more). It's nice to see these old guys enjoying each others company, I think they only see each other every few years, and its clear that their friendship goes back a long way - I hope our group of friends gets to be like this when we get old

Time passes, Mir Hosein decides he's no longer capable of driving, so after watching the sunset and strolling round the village we bed down for the night in the middle of these peaceful mountains.

Following day, Rachel and I strike out alone (the Iranian hospitality and generosity is truly wonderful but can sometimes feel a little suffocating) and explore the old town in more detail. Well, the book told us to get lost in the maze of streets, so we did our best, and failed miserably. A very atmpospheric place it is, with narrow alleys snaking off, often with arched ceilings to create more shade from the hot sun, and badgers everywhere. Sorry, baghdeers, a 10th century solution to airconditioning involving catching the wind and funnelling it through the buildings.

We also visited a Zurkanah session which was uber cool, In a nutshell, a load of Iranian bodybuilders have an aerobics session in an ancient dome shaped building- they get in a sort of sunken round boxing ring, and do exercises (waving 35kg batons around, pressups if they are not tooo fat, and spinning around on the spot for as long as possible like I used to do in primary school) - this is all done to the very loud accompaniement of 2 singers / drummers using the amazing acoustics of the building to full effect while the zurkanah guys shout back responses, its an intense, heavily ritualistic, almost religious version of Mad Lizzies Shakeout.

Then it's early evening, we regroup with Javad and say a fairly emotional fairwell, and set off for Shiraz, city of the poets...

Posted by rachndave 00:23 Archived in Iran Tagged tourist_sites

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