I took the short walk out to the seafront where I had my first ever view of the Persian Gulf, sadly tempered by bad light which made the sea a milky brown colour and the sky little different. I did find the new Museum of Anthropology however, most notable for the building itself which typified the local architecture, squarish Mediterranean looking blocks with pillars supporting wrap around verandahs. For my 20p I learned if nothing else that they played a type of bagpipe around here, a leather bag brightly painted in reds and yellows. As a generalisation I thought I also detected a darker hue to the people here, a more tanned walnut complexion and a distinctly Arab appearance more noticeable in the women with their hair hidden as it was. Long slender noses and thin angular faces. It was also here that I took my first local bus and encountered my first instance of total sex segregation, the girls entered through the rear door and sat up the back. It was another nonsense though since they still had to first approach the front door to hand the driver their ticket. For all its promise, Bushehr did little to redeem itself and I left disappointed in my trip to the seaside.
Onto another bus and back into mountain territory, I saw a fantastic ancient bridge with turrets serving a ruined caravaneserai. In amongst very long climbs and long tunnels I caught my first glimpse of orchards and date palmeries. The topography was particularly brutal here, massive peaks of sedimentary layers eroded into a boulder strewn mess, not very easy on the eye. In places we were jammed between vertical cliffs and we touched the cloud layer surrounded by snowy slopes disappearing into it. I was so happy to be in Shiraz after a few shitty days and the city's reputation for being cultured was immediately apparent in its modernity, orderliness and fashionable people. My hotel choice materialised slightly dodgier but cheaper than expected and it was great to know I would have a steady base for a few days. I'd had nothing but bus journeys through mountains for a week or more.