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Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Iran  ,
Sunday, September 18, 2005

We had booked an overnight train to Esfahan. All the pictures we had seen of this place looked great and we couldn't wait to get there. We jumped in a taxi, made our way to the station, and prepared for a night train. Once in the station, I could not see any info about Esfahan, but up on the board was a train going to Isfahan. Now, we had seen some news that in Isfahan, the Iranians had reopened their nuclear power plant, so we were hoping that Esfahan/Isfahan were two different places and that if they were not, we would not turn green !!!

The other thing I have so far failed to mention since we have been in Iran is that the boys are more touchy feely here than in any other Extremist country we have been to. The boys walk down the road together either with their fingers locked or whole hands.

Once in our cabin, we were joined by an older lady, a man and two boys who could not keep their hands of each other. They were rubbing each others legs and other things. What was going to happen when we slept !!!!! Thankfully, I fell asleep straight away and found the two boys in their own bunks when we awoke at 05:30.

First Morning

We jumped into a cab and made our way to Amir Kabir Hostel, which we had chosen to be our home. We ordered some breakfast whilst awaiting for our room. We were joined by an Irish guy by the name of James who we had met in Turkey. We sat and watched the staff. There was shit gloves. He was the cleaner. He cleaned the toilets, then kept the same gloves and wiped the tables down, well kind of wiped them down. There was breakfast man who had wonky eyes and did not seem to be all there. Laundry man was similar. That was when it hit us. This Hostel was an equal opportunity employer and they were employing people with disabilities. Good on them I say !!!

We went for a walk and found Naqsh-E Jahan Square (Imam Square). This is the second largest square in the world. It is very impressive. There are also two mosques, but we were leaving them till another day. All around the outside of it, the undercover section is part of hte bazaar. There is the expensive part, but we walked through it anyway. Eventually, we came to the main section and walked in and bumped into James. He had some local guy who was sprouting about cheap carpet shops, so we told him to take us there. He led us on a tour around through the bazaar until we came to the carpet area, but he kept going, then went down some stairs and into a warehouse. We asked to see some prayer rugs, as we have three already, and he gave some tea whilst he went through his showing. We did find one that we liked, the price was cheap, like 1/4 of the Turkish prices, so we told him we would take it and pick it up on Saturday. As tommorow was Friday, this is the first day of the Extremists weekend. We left the shop and ended up at the Si-o-Seh Bridge which is 500 years old. It was picturesque, so we had three pots of tea and dinner. We also watched the Extremist cross the water as they wanted to get their feet wet. Crazy I say.

Second Morning

Next morning, same routine with shit gloves and his cronies. Once breakfast was down, we went for a walk and found some nice Mosques and closed markets. Then we found a nougat factory. We were given some freebies and sent on our way. Our goal was the Jameh Mosque. This is the largest Mosque in all of Iran, but we could not find it. The local Extremists kept giving us the wrong directions. Eventually one came up and said we could jump on his 125cc motorbike with him and his daughter. We went flying through the lanes. I shat myself, and then we arrived. We walked in, and it was huge. As usual, we found an extremist who wanted to take us home for lunch, but we declined as we had only just arrived. It is over 500 years old and there is so much different Islamic styles. It was amazing. We were kicked out as it was Friday and everyone wanted to pray, so we went to the bird markets. There were quite a few dead ones, who could not handle the heat or the crowd. Such is life. It was now getting late so we made our way back to Imam Square, where we found a tea shop to watch the sun go down. I also enjoyed a qalyan, with apple tobacco. It was such a nice way to see the changing of the colours in this square.

Third Morning

In the their wisdom, the consulate at Istanbul had decided to give us a two week vise, so we had to go get an extension. We made our way to the visa office and found we were the only Infidels there. We did all the right things and was told to come back in 1.5 hours. We came back a little early and the whole of the outside was covered with Afghan Extremists. We went in and they followed. The guard lost it and ordered them all out and smiled at us. They came back in, and he then decided to put them in another room. He smiled at us again. We were then called up and for $11US, we had a new 34 day visa. We jumped on a segregated bus without paying and went to pay for our carpet. As soon as we walked in, there was another prayer rug on the ground. It was also nice. We paid for ours and asked why he had not showed us this one, and he explained that he had only just bought it. We both wanted it, so we told him that we would pay for it on Monday !!! WE left him and decided to go and see the mosques. First up was Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. It is beautiful from the outside, the most stunning I have seen, but inside it was 100 times better. 400 years old with a pale dome on top. It is only small, but so lovely. We walked out and back into the sqaure and went to Imam Mosque. This one is much bigger with different colours. In one section, where there is a dome, you can stamp your foot and listen to an echo 12 times. We also ran into the Kiwis from Tehran here. Once again it was good to speak our local dialect !!! We ended the day again having tea and smoking another qalyan

Fourth Morning

I went to have an early shower, but there was shit floating from the next door toilet, into the shower and then over the balcony. Shit gloves had not been doing his job and there was shit everywhere. We fucked off and went to visit some palaces. We went to Chehel Sotun. There was some awesome paintings that had somehow managed to survive the revolution, including topless women !!! We moved on back into Imam Square and had a look at the Ali Qapu Palace. Most of it has been closed but there is a nice view of Imam Square. We ran into the Kiwi couple again and arranged to meet them on the roof of our usual tea shop. We fucked around the rest of the day having a look at the bazaar until it was time to meet the Kiwis. We had our usual tea and qalyan.

That was Esfahan done. We had bought some bus tickets to go to Shiraz and we had seen enough of Esfahan. We never did see the nuclear power plant though !!!

Infidels seen - Fucking Shitloads
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