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Shiraz - Day 3

sunny

With the Ozzies busy with family business I was happy to hit out on my own back to the Cheragh Shrine where I got better photos in better light, then onto the Pars Museum. It was very small, just the octagonal pagoda which had originally been Zand's tomb set in shady gardens. It had a very nice ornate ceiling with many painted wall panels and a beautiful marble floor. There were more of those symbols of Ashura, the Shia commemoration of the martyrdom of Hossein, just like Christians have a cross I was explained. They looked like something out of The Day of the Triffids. Later I walked out to the river and the adjacent Emamzadeh-ye Ali Ebn-e Hamze shrine, where I almost got run down by a family of 5 on a motorbike! It had exquisite external tilework on the bulbous dome and twin minarets and I managed to sneak a few illicit photos of the inside which was at least the equal of the Cheragh shrine, like being inside a disco mirror globe. And all that just for the 7th Imam's nephew. I carried on out north to the Quran Gateway, where a square arch is squeezed between 2 hillsides where the main road exits north. In a small shrine mounted on top of it is housed a very old Koran, the legend being that you should pass underneath it at the start of any journey. I climbed one of the hills for great if somewhat hazy views of the city and also found some more carved reliefs here. The rest of the day turned out to be a frustration since being Friday there was not a single net cafe or travel agent to be had despite walking miles in search of them. In desperation I even whimsically blew a massive 4,000 Toman in visiting a palace garden which I immediately regretted. The Eram Palace was only viewable from the front facade and 5 minutes later I left noting that the locals only paid 300, what a rip off. It had been my original plan to bus it up to Esfahan today but I realised that this would leave me in no mans land regarding my impending visa extension, I would need a renewal within the week. With Esfahan or Kerman being the only 2 reasonable locations, beyond expectation I found myself planning to take the same night bus as the Ozzies to Yazd. A couple of days there and Esfehan would be perfectly placed at the prescribed time. Perversely, I finally found a functioning net cafe at the bus terminal, also buses which looked older than me going as far as Istanbul and Syria. As it turned out, the ever wandering twists of fate conspired to make it that the Ozzies didnt show up, not a tragedy since after 2 days together I felt I was impinging, and also it transpired that there were 2 buses to Yazd departing at the same time. Bizzarely, a Polish guy I had bumped into briefly a couple of times at Persepolis and Shiraz was booked on the other bus. All I could say was "See you in Yazd!". True to form, instead I found myself next to a young guy who was studying English Lit. and so went through the usual gamut of political and cultural topics, he also liked my ideas for books, all political he noted! Profoundly anti-Israeli, dismissive of his government and hopeful of study in England, he also re-iterated the recent tentative relaxation of the revolution amongst young people since there was no blocking the internet or satellite TV. I had noticed young couples holding hands in public in Shiraz, some clearly too young to be married, and girls were forever pushing the limits with their make-up and hairline. He said he could have sex with his girlfriend but they still went home their separate ways and said their prayers. No sign of the Ozzies or Polish guy upon arrival in Yazd at 4am, and very cold in the desert under a suitably oriental crescent moon.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iran

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