Hooking up with Ruben and Maria that morning I hung around while they checked out the Amir Chaghmagh mosque before heading across the square to what transpired to be an associated gymnasium, a distinctive building I couldnt have helped but notice already. It was housed in a domed building which had perhaps not been originally intended for its present usage, topped by 5 large badgirs and with a huge unexpected reservoir hidden within its bowels. Inside was a small sunken amphitheatre floored with colourful rubber matting, akin almost to a wrestling ring. Lined around it were various sets of exercise apparatus, most of which required explanation. There were sets of one handed dumbbells which resembled giant ice cream cones, and a rack of metal rods and chains was demonstrated by the janitor guy to be an unlikely kind of workout device which you flailed back and forward in the air, somewhat noisily. I had not expected to find anything like this in Yazd, the Spaniards' guidebook clearly had more detail than mine and they had the days tour all worked out. Next then we jumped in a taxi for a trip out to the Ateshkadeh, a Zoroastrian Fire Temple where the flame had been burning continuously since 470AD.
Straight winged eagle emblem with an old man figure replacing the head, its known as Fravahar. The old man symbolises wisdom to be sought, the ring on his left hand indicates a pledge, the wings have 3 rows of feathers to represent good words, good thoughts and good deeds. All together its supposed to be the embodiment of the Zoroastrian's ultimate goal of flight towards exaltation. The temple was only built in 1934 and though a nice building the log fed flame was shielded behind glass and there was nothing much more to see.
Together with the Spaniards I moved on to the Bagh-e Doulat, a fortified residence and garden compound of former ruler Karim Khan Zand of Shiraz fame. Unfortunately the weather had turned really grim now, the last place I had expected rain was the desert. There was a very nice octagonal summer palace designed with very large open archways and at 34 metres, crowned by the tallest badgir in the city. It was adorned with very nice stained glass windows, fountain fed pools and wooden porticos on the upper level, we presumed for the women of the court to hide behind. There was the usual long ceremonial walkway and pool running up to the main palace, which unexpectedly lay in disrepair however. The guy on the ticket desk had sold us 3 for the price of 2 but it was still a rip off at 2000 Tomans each.
Though it certainly helped me visit some places which perhaps I otherwise wouldnt have bothered with, for once I decided to take the initiative and break free from Ruben and Maria. Though very nice, I was pained at having to speak dodgy Spanish with them and watch them struggle with somewhat better English in turn, and such a wet day was better served invested in typing my dreadfully backlogged diary. They had had an argument just before I decided to split and must have wondered if they had pissed me off, it was too bad. They jumped into another taxi bound for a Henna Mill and neighbouring classy restaurant, but I was not interested enough to justify the rate at which they were spending money. A short walk took me to the Iran Air office instead and they could not even muster a timetable, so the rest of the day was given over to kebabs, internet and Dizi (abgusht stew). I was glad for the break.