A ride to Yazd

A ride to Yazd

February 15, 2015

9.30am. We are along the highway, waiting for a bus from Tehran to Yazd. There aren’t many, unfortunately. Probably the first one will be around 11am, we’ve been told. There are many buses, but they all go to Isfahan. How silly, I should have checked last night, we could have taken the 8am train to Yazd; we’re going to waste the whole day traveling (it’s 4 and half hours to Yazd from here). In Tehran we got a bus so quickly, we didn’t even enter the E-Jonub bus station, they picked us up on the road, so I thought it would be equally easy to go to Yazd. No, all buses go to Isfahan. The guidebook advised me about this. I should have listened.

1pm. We are at a gas station for a break. Our bus arrived at about 11.30am, luckily! A bit old, compared to the one we took to Kashan. And always really hot.

Toilets are clean, I wasn’t expecting it. There’s a blanket hiding the entrance, so women can take off their chador to go to pee. They wear it to travel or to go to the bazaar. Luca is upset because I drank all the coffee. The nescaf√© type, super sweet. I forgot to ask if he wanted more, he’s too slow drinking! We’ll be in Yazd at about 4pm, I guess.

7.40pm We are at the Silk Road Hotel in Yazd, waiting for our dinner. The room is not as nice as the Ehsan House in Kashan, but it’s only 30 euro (for 2 people, breakfast included). I used the 500.000 RIL that I found in the street to buy a long dress, because the jacket is too hot.

We’re having ram tonight too (two days ago we saw one on the street that had just been slaughtered, it was still moving and blood was dripping on the sidewalk), chicken curry and banana shake. I love the ceramics they use for cups and bowls.

We are spending about 60 euro per day, much less than the 100 we estimated, good!

A German lady asked me to take her picture. Her friend and she (both about 50 yo), a scarf covering their hair like peasants in the 40s, are really loving their Iranian trip. Apparently they are particularly happy/excited because here they’ve found beer, but maybe they didn’t realize it’s non-alcoholic. There are many Germans traveling, maybe because in Germany there’s not the common (wrong) belief that Iran is dangerous.

We arrived in Yazd at about 5pm and we only managed to see the Masjed-e Jameh, the mosque overlooking Yazd. Beautiful at night too.

Short Iranian film in Kashan

Short Iranian film in Kashan

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.