I am sitting at this little internet cafe, right? Global embargo has but some ADSL around here, but not much speed in general. I was thinking of putting down something from yesterday, but yesterday seems already so far ago.
The first day it was nice and sunny, can you believe it; watermelons and falling golden leaves. It is definitely not Greece. Yesterday it was overcast, but still evry nice. The bazaar maaaasive, we walked around like crazy and finally we met Hamid, who literally dragged us to his carpet shop “only for discussion and tea”. Hamid finished mathematics at university, but there are no jobs really, he wanted to do robotics; there is an iranian professor who has this super robotics group in NASA, but he left many many years ago, now no Iranias in US of A. He explained to us about the embargo, how bad it is for his business. Hamid’s, Ali’s and Hossein’s gallery accepts Mastercard, old news for european boys, but it’s a whole business of it’s own in Iran. Naturally, due to embargo nothing related to the US of A is allowed as is the case with most countries that embargo Iran. Hamid said, you see someone said I am a terrorist, now I cannot use Mastercard. But there is a solution, which I had already come across last year. You havea friend in Dubai, you sign a “contract”, bona fide, here, a phone call is made and there it goes, you go with your carpet and Hamid maybe he will get his money after 2-3-4-5 months. Tricky business, but since there are no ATMs connected with the outside world, no tourist carries the dough a carpet would require. Carpets can be shipped via DHL (!) which also can’t work with Mastercard (or visa or naturally AmEx). You see, last yea, I met these guys at the port of Dubai, with their boat full of US stuff. They explained to me: America-Iran problem. America-Dubai, no problem. Dubai-Iran no problem. So. America-Iran, no problem. 🙂
Anyway, Hamid, with a bit of female flair in voice and manners, stressed to us many times that he is single, and told us all so many things about what he sees in Iran. He hasn’t travelled abroad although he’d like to. He also offered for us to go and stay at his place (hmmm..where have I heard that before…). In any case, apparently he went and bought a couch just in case we decided to go there, for what we learned later on “things that young people do, party, beer, dance and …sex?”. Ah well… the adventures of women travelling solo…
There is still so much to be said for yesterday, we had some nice dinner, we had to negotiate million times a simple taxi ride, and Hamid demonstrated so easily that we were in any and every case tricked and so many other things. There is an easy “trick” to be fooled here in Iran: rials and tomans. I think I mentioned that. Plus they also say “give me a khomeini”, meaning 10.000, but khomeini is also on 1.000, so yeah, go figure. Luckily, 13.000 is 1 euro, so it is not that bad when it is few thousands, unlike that guy who wanted to sell a lamp for 180.000 , 180.000 what?, 180.000 toman, whoaaaat?
So, today we had the first Day of the Marmota, we repeated breakfast at the Traditional hotel, although we wanted to enter a man-monopolied little cafe, that was overcrammed, with say, 10 men per square foot, where foot size 43. Breakfast was good, and ordering coffee will set you at double the price, but hey, we can go large here! Then we started walking through the bazaar, what lovely pictures one can take, the sun was going through the domes, people were going up and down, nobody said no to a picture, it was nice… We moved to the river, searching for that immaculate modern mosque, we ended up in the Armenian neighbourhood. That looked pretty neat, they looked pretty wealthy. Only the bloody Xstian churches were 5 times more than the most precious mosque in the center. The attitude was also pretty arrogant, who would believe it? Pity pity pity.
Today was the culinary day. I tried slarty plums, salty sour cherries, a dish of lamb with yoghurt saffrom and pommegranate (which sounds nice but was awful), chicken with pommegranate and nuts sauce (excellent), sugar with safforn and some obscene goat cheese balls, which already have a prescribed destination, somewhere in the north of Greece. Tomorrow, off to Shiraz, through the mountains. Probably no update for two days.
Time expansion and relativity. Ah, yes, that is something not even Einstein would explain. It seems as if I am here for ages. I only wish I could go to the loo without the headscarf.