Trip Start Mar 21, 2009
Trip End Apr 29, 2009

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Flag of Iran  ,
Sunday, April 5, 2009

Esfahan was by far one of the highlights of the trip and was the capital many years ago.   It's absolutely beautiful and has a huge square with an enormous, gorgeous mosque on one end and a very atmospheric, equally enormous bazaar at the other.   We spent a lot of time in the square just drinking tea on the outdoor benches of a teashop at one end of the square since it made for great people-watching.   We ran into more tourists in Esfahan, mostly from Europe and some from Japan, but they were still few and far between and definitely no other Americans.   People continued to be so delighted and happy that we chose to visit their country and I think we got a warmer welcome than any other tourists.   

Esfahan is a great walking city and there are some beautiful small bridges that cross the river which also make for great strolling and people watching, especially at night.   One of Kate's friends has family in Esfahan and they took us out one night to show us around.   It ended up being a group of just women which was a lot of fun, and they had us over to their house for tea and snacks before we headed out for a night on the town.   Iran doesn't have much in the way of nightlife so "going out" essentially means going to the shopping areas and cruising around either in your car or strolling up and down the pedestrian promenades.   Just like anywhere, the teenagers were definitely dressed to impress.   No chadors in that part of town, almost all the young girls wore scarves that barely covered their heads and very form-fitting "manteaus" - essentially a shirt/house dress that is mid-thigh length - enough to cover you from the back lest you elicit desire in men who apparently can't be trusted to control themselves.  

In Esfahan we also came across a lot of signs posted in front of various museums that are meant to provide little snippets of wisdom from Allah - kind of like a fortune cookie.   We'd seen them in Tehran but they were much more prevalent here.   What was hilarious were the translations into English, so I'm hoping to print these pictures and frame them on my wall at home and create a series called "Words of Wisdom from Allah."

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