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It was always a problem finding something to occupy myself with on a Friday in Iran, and Kerman was no exception. I could see very tempting desert mountainscapes just out of town and with another overnight trip pending I thought I would do a day trip to the nearby town of Mahan for the scenery if nothing else. Even the taxi stand was lifeless though so I had to give up on that idea and just wander the streets in vain, it was the first time I had felt trully warm since Cyprus. The day was salvaged in part however with a 2nd visit to the bazaar, very quiet this time which allowed a better appreciation of the architecture. A central dome where the main alleyways crossed was unusually oblate and finished in a mud exterior. Inside it was even more remarkable with black and white piping and a ring of obviously very ancient portrait frescos still discernible. Nearby, the bazaar opened out to one side onto the Ganj Ali Courtyard, grounds which complimented a sizeable mosque and a large and very pretty badgir similar to to those in Yazd, though this one had been unusually prettified. Directly opposite within the bazaar, an excellent relief painted doorway led into the fantastic Hamam-e Ganj Ali Khan, an ancient bathhouse now turned into a museum presentation. Its main chamber is on an octagonal plan, each radial sector being reserved for a different profession so that for example all the craftsmen might congregate together in one area, the mullahs in another. In a second chamber pools now populated by goldfish had been used originally for bathing, there was also the practice of "cupping", whereby the attendants would suck bathers skin through a tube in order to draw blood to the surface. It was finished very nicely in bright tiling and white arched ceilings and I could not recall seeing a nicer one. Then the bawbag security guy wanted to check my photos, I could only imagine because he thought that I had been taking pictures of the few Iranian girls also visiting. Yeah, like women invisible behind black cloaks really do it for me, the bigot. I subsequently snapped one of them just to spite him. Later on I went back to see the giggly burger girl, and then found a net cafe open at last, hallelujah.

At the bus terminal I got more shite service, they were happy to ignore you unless you just shouted out what you wanted, which for me wasnt easy in Farsi, and even then they needed prompting later. It was their livelihood and it wasnt difficult, what a carry on. For good measure they indulged in the usual clerting about with water all over the floor, and I realised too late that they had soaked my bags into the bargain. In trying to rescue my gear from the wet they started playing with my one tin of Tuborg and promptly dropped it, fuckwits the lot. It was here that I met 2 Korean guys, not from the North they joked, the first travellers I'd met coming from Pakistan. They were quick to praise the place and almost as quick to slag off Iran, it had had that effect on them already and was music to my ears! After my debacle in Bushehr there was a touch of trepidation in going back to the Gulf that night, and the ragtag bunch of conscripts on the bus didnt help.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iran

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