It’s raining in Shiraz. Cats and dogs. I hope it will quiet down, otherwise we won’t be able to see anything of this town. It rained all night. In the guesthouse, there’s a sheet covering the courtyard where we have breakfast, and from time to time a drop falls into your head while you’re eating.
13h20 Seray-e Mehr Teahouse & Restaurant
Luckily the rain slowed down a bit and we made it to the bazaar and we are now having lunch at this beautiful teahouse hidden in the maze of the bazaar.
My eggplant dish was less tasty than usual; Luca’s chicken with rice and pomegranate was delicious.
We met some lovely people here in Shiraz. We were walking in the street and I stopped to photograph a door at the end of the alley, when the owner of the house I was photographing walked by; he had gone to buy some bread and invited us for a chai. It was a bit embarrassing, because neither him nor his son could speak English. But we did manage to communicate, somehow. Bread and cheese, oranges, fruits similar to jujube. The room where we were sitting on the floor, displayed a fridge, some mattresses piled along a wall, a wardrobe and a carpet that covered the concrete floor. At one point they showed us the rest of the house. There was a room where they were weaving a carpet (finally we understood what earlier they tried to explain to us) and a beautiful mirrors room. Everything was falling apart, but it was stunning in its decadence. I hope they’ll find the money to refurbish, so they can make some money with tourism.
21h14 We are at the hotel. Luca is exchanging glances with two girls behind his shoulders, both having dinner with their partner, but it looks like this is not a problem. After the afternoon nap we went back to the street. We visited the castle, the Hammam, another mosque, a bazaar, the bus station to buy the bus ticket to Isfahan for tomorrow night. A Taiwan girl we met at the hotel found a taxi driver that can take us to Persepolis and Pesargade for 8 euro each. Great! We leave tomorrow 8.30 am. At the hotel they asked for 55 USD each for a similar tour. Yeek!
Maybe it was better if we took a private car from Yazd to Shiraz, with a stop to visit Pesargade and Persepolis, that would have cost 110 USD, but would have saved us a day of travel. If we had met someone else to share the car with, we would have done it; but we didn’t, so we are here waiting for the bus.
This morning we took a bus from Fahraj to Yazd, where we had to ask to two bus drivers how to get to the main bus station; one of the drivers got off the bus under the rain to stop another one that was leaving and explained the other driver where we needed to go. In any other country, we would probably have been told “Get a taxi if you don’t know how to get there”.
Breakfast, bus Fahraj-Yazd, two buses to the Terminal (the long-run bus station), half an hour wait, and at 10.40am we leave. VIP bus with wide seats and a TV just in front of us. Nice to watch a super-romantic movie where you can imagine kisses and hugs (just imagine, in Iran public display of affection is not allowed, not even on TV). Finally in Shiraz, at about 5pm.
I have seen few smartphones here in Iran, less than in the Dominican Republic or Tanzania. Probably because it’s not easy to find an Internet connection. Anyway, I’ve found out that a sim card with no Internet costs about 3 dollars, with internet 10; maybe it’s a bit expensive for the local wages, but the service is available.
9.20 pm Niayesh Boutique Hotel. We got the last available room at the Niayesh, so maybe if we came by car and arrived at 7 pm (because you need at least 2 hours to visit Persepolis, plus Pesargade and the necropolis) we would have to look for another place. And it would have been a shame because the Niayesh is the only hotel in a traditional house here in Shiraz, a house with an inner courtyard surrounded by rooms. It’s a meeting point for tourists, so hopefully we’ll meet someone to go to Persepolis with, otherwise we’ll have to take the bus and it’s not easy, especially for Pesargade.
We had dinner at the restaurant of the hotel and it was delicious.
So we arrived in Shiraz at about 5 pm; the last hour on the bus from Yazd was cherished by the only person of mixed race seen so far, a 7 year old boy. When we arrived in Shiraz, we took bus 79 from the Terminal to the hotel. And the people on the bus started talking to us; they wanted to know where we come from and if we like Iran. It felt very different from other towns, you can tell this town is more open-minded, metropolitan. They suggested we went to hotel Shiraz, 5 stars. Maybe when we’ll be rich. An elder man got off the bus with us, payed for our fares and walked us to the hotel, stopping every 5 minutes to ask the direction to passers-by to make sure we were on the right way. Even when we saw the first signs of the hotel, he didn’t let us alone until we found the entrance. Crazy. Never witnessed a welcome like this.
As soon as we put our bags in the room and went to the toilet, we went to see the AMRAGH-E SHAH-E CHERAGH, a shrine where two brothers of Mir Ahmad are buried (or maybe it was the Boghe-ye Sanyed Mir Mohammad… never mind the name). It was a bit complicated to wear the chador, but the ladies at the entrance were very kind. We were taken to the “international relations” office, where we were offered tea. Then we were accompanied to the two tombs. Walls and ceilings were covered with mosaics of mirrors. Separate entries for man and women, so Luca went in with his escort. Inside people were praying and crying to get rid of the pain caused by illnesses and concerns. Very touching. Other people were looking at their phone and making balls with their chewing gum. I had to leave my camera at the entrance, while Luca could take pictures with his phone. The girl that was my escort is a student at the Sociology University that once a week volunteers here. She explained that to pray you should take a small stone that you can find along the walls and put it on the floor; you should then try to touch it with your forehead, so the negative energies can exit your body and flow into the floor, while the positive ones go in. Allah has 1,000 and one name, all written in the Koran. Green is the color of Islam because Mohammed dressed in green, plus heaven will be all green, full of trees; gold is the other color of Islam, can’t remember why; blue is also its color because it links don’t know what. A lady asked my young escort if she was married; she answered that no. She wants to finish uni first, but she is often asked that question; probably they’ve got a son of marriage age and she looks like she is a very good girl.
I have always loved traveling, since I was in my mother's womb. I love to see new places, meet new cultures, eat the food of the world. Recently I discovered that pictures can sometimes show more than I can do in words.
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