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Iran 2017 Part 4 - Journey to Isfahan

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The next day I was up at 9 and, after a frigid shower and quick meal of flatbread wrapped cheese, out by 10.  In Iran, paying for your bed can be a little complicated as the currency's surplus of zeroes has led to an numerical shorthand where 1000 becomes a 'Toman'. I never really reached a point where I was quite comfortable with this.

Out again into the madness of Tehran I headed swiftly in the wrong direction.  I was working off a tiny map printed onto the back of the Hostel's business card and so I headed south instead of north, darting across busy roads only to turn and dart back north again. 

While transitioning back at a crossroads at which stood a smiling proffering mime, a lady passed close and thrust a branch of white budding flowers into my hand.  I held them foolishly aloft all the way to the bus station, bemused and confused on the busy Metro.  Faintly touched and embarrassed.  Should I throw them away? What do they mean? More questions.

A square concrete …

Iran 2017 - Part 3 - The Tehran Bazaar

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Deep in Tehran my party and I hit an intersection.   Across from us the street gave way to cobbles, along which and off to the right a square was cut into the linear streetscape. Here were set two platforms at right angles. Crowds milled and pushed about them. We nuzzled in to get a closer look.

 The platforms were lined with moustachioed men with perfect hair. They gesticulated wildly.  One, a large man, who seemed to be in charge, looked at me and shouted a word I didn't catch or understand, I stared blankly and waved.  We saw now that it was an auction The crowd bid for gold coins which sat in cases like picture frames at the men's feet.


We broke away and found, just beyond and beneath an old arch pointed like a leaf, a short stairway leading down to a street arched over - seething and stretching away to an interior horizon: a morass of colour filtered on a bed of chador black. Shoppers shuffling beneath rich banners in luminous green and black.  We battled our way in.




Th…

Iran 2017 - Part 2 - A walk in Tehran

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I was in Tehran, physically beaten,  spiritually ecstatic.
 The sky hung above the courtyard, grey and tawdry, wind shook the tree in the corner, occasional drops of ashen rain fell to stain the page. I had set to writing, fueled with tea from a battered samovar, perched on a little table with insectile legs buckling; wrapped up in cling film beside it were flat bread piles and fig jam.  By default I was first to this breakfast buffet, others arrived gradually as the hour grew saner and before long I was scattily engaged in chat with a French student and an accountant from Amsterdam.
Idle pleasant chat watching bedraggled folk emerge from dormitories upstairs, they stumbled in turn over a large pool of shoes that spread from the door almost to the samovar at which they clutched, sleep feverish. All then sat, chewed and sipped - joined the growing chat. 
It was the simple ease of the hostel. All looked well traveled in well worn loose fitting woollens, faded t shirts, and that general…