February 13, 2015

Khan-e Ameriha, 4pm

We are in a traditional house in Kashan because Sarah Tabibzadeh invited us to see a movie that she directed. She’s a young Iranian director that we met this morning on the bus from Tehran. She even paid the taxi to the town centre. It probably wasn’t expensive, but it was a nice thing to do.

Sarah’s movie is “Lady with Flower-hair”; it’s the story of a girl, who is very sad because flowers grow among her hair and when she drinks tea she also has to water her hair; this thing makes her feel out of place all the time. One night while she was walking around town she thought she saw someone similar to her, but it was only a drawing. At the end she kills herself and finally her nature makes sense because from her buried body many flowers are born. A short cartoon-movie, similar to Persepolis. Sarah reminds me of the young generation that don’t like much the restrictions they have to live with. On the bus she was dressed in Western style, more traditional at the movie presentation, very elegant and modern at the same time. It was very kind of her to invite us to the movie.

7.33pm We are in the dining room of our guesthouse. In the middle there’s a pool with red fish.

Kashan is famous for the bazaar, that we’re going to see tomorrow because today it’s Friday and it’s closed, and the traditional 19th Century houses, built with clay and straw. The Khan-e-Ameriha where we went for Sarah’s movie is huge. It’s formed by many buildings and has 8 courtyards, the largest ones with a pool in the middle; in the Summer the wind comes down to the water, collects it and brings a bit of freshness to the underground floors; there’s a boutiqute hotel now among the various buildings of the Khan (that means “house”, while Ameriha is the name of a famous Iranian family, like Medicis, Sarah told me). They are restoring another part of the house to make the hotel bigger. It will be huge. I don’t even ask how much it might cost to sleep there.

Our hotel is also in a traditional house and is very nice. We pay about 40 euro per night; it would be at least double the price in Europe. The rooms with three windows (like ours) are for less important guests; those with 5 or 7 windows are suites, and were once reserved to the most illustrious guests.

While we were walking around town a guy invited us to his home: it’s been owned by his family for 180 years; he lives in Tehran, but in the days off he comes here to renovate it: he hopes to open a hotel in a couple of years. It has the usual central courtyard, with no pool but some ancient trees, and various buildings around.

I guess I will sleep very well tonight. Last night I couldn’t sleep because the heating was too high, even with the window open it was too hot and I couldn’t turn it down, and there was a lot of noise from the road. Here it’s perfect. The heating is on, but not too hot (and the room is big, three times the one we had yesterday; there’s even a matress for a third guest, if anyone wants to visit us) and it’s super quiet. The food is also very good. With 10 euro we ate ram stew with peas and carrots and a dish with aubergines and other vegetables and I can’t remember what else. All with some nice white rice with a splash of saffron and a lovely yogurt. After the sandwiches of the last days it was a bless. Some Germans were complaining with a girl from Taiwan that they only eat well when they cook at home (they’ve been living in Tehran since last Summer), because the only vegetarian dish is falafel (it’s probably not easy to be vegetarian in Iran).

We don’t know yet what we are doing tomorrow. We could spend the night in the desert for 70 dollars (for two people) but with the cold nights of this time of the year maybe it’s not the best time to try. We’ll decide in the morning.

8.52pm We are sitting on the sofas around the pool of the hotel drinking tea. It’s a bit chilly now. It must be beautiful in Summer, to chill out here after the heat of the day.

I must improve my ability to wash after peeing. Like in many other countries, here you can’t throw the toilet paper into the toilet, so rather than keeping it in the basket for days, I wash like locals do (near the toilet there’s a tap for water); but so far I haven’t learnt how to do it without getting completely wet.