I didn’t expect much again as I am not a city person but when I got there, I was impressed and it became my favourite city in Iran.
When you don’t have any expectations, you get surprises.
The mosque was huge and magnificent. The local people, like the families, painters, students, lovers… loved to come to this Square too. We saw so many of them. As tourists, everything was exotic to us including the local people. Likewise, we were ‘exotic’ to them. 😀 In the end, they also asked us to take photos with them.
After interacting with the local families, we followed our tour guide. Poor that tour guide, he had to find all his lost sheep (i.e. us) all the time. I wouldn’t want to be one. 😀
We then walked to the Music Room of Aali Ghapoo Palace. Aali Ghapoo building was built simultaneously with other buildings in this square. The name, Aali Ghapoo, means ‘an excellent gate to the complex of palaces’. It took about 70 years to complete this building.
This was a very famous restaurant in Esfahan. One had to reserve a table weeks before so as to secure one. The name of the restaurant was ‘Shahrzad Restaurant’. It opened from 11:30a.m. to 10:30p.m.
We had salad or yoghurt, rice cake (the rice was sweet!), chicken kebab, lamb kebab, fish kebab… The whole dining table was full of kebabs!
For the local people, having Farsi written on a piece of honey or on a spoon may be very common but for a tourist like me, it was very exotic. Doesn’t it sound like our lives? When you see something or someone every day, you just take them for granted. But once that something or someone is gone, you regret that you haven’t treasured it enough when it was with you.
Treasure every moment and everything you have, otherwise, it will be too late.
It was praying time for the pilgrims in the afternoon so our visit in the mosque was interrupted. Because none of us were Muslims, we headed to have our delicious lunch and came back to the mosque in the evening to have a more detailed look inside. Other than that, there was a bazaar in the Square too. So, our evening activity, apparently, was shopping.
Actually, the Iranians would like to import US goods. Unfortunately, the US government imposed sanctions on them so they imported goods from Europe instead. Speaking of this, the vendors in the markets and bazaars accepted USD and EURO other than Rial back in those days. Not sure about now though.
These places were strictly for male only (female tourists were allowed in but not the local girls). Men drank tea and smoked shisha just like those ones we saw at Hafiz’s resting place. I tried the shisha with peach flavour. The taste of peach flowed inside my mouth and then out of my mouth as I exhaled. Well, I choked, of course.
Was it hygienic? Yes, we were each given a plastic ‘mouthpiece’ or ‘straw’. We fixed it to the long plastic pipe and smoked with it. At the bottom of the pipe stand was water and at the top, was a mixture of charcoal and tobacco. When we inhaled, we could see bubbles in the water and at the same time the charcoal on top turned red. It was quite interesting to watch.
Back in 2006, shisha wasn’t as popular as now around the world. It was a new and exotic experience for all of us.
We’d continue to tour around Esfahan tomorrow.
4 September 2006
P.S. We are all humans. Wherever we are from, we all lead a similar way of life – we study, work, eat, go shopping, hang out with our friends and families, etc. It’s just that we speak a different language, we have different cultures (not entirely different) and we look different. That’s all.