Saturday, October 28, 2006

Next to Natanz

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Keivan's account of day 2 of our road trip. All pictures shamelessly stolen... Actually, we are having problems uploading images... so will update.

I am happy to sit in the front seat of the car. On my way to Kashan the day before, when I was sitting 7 hours in the back of the car, I had a lot of time to think of ways to get the women to let me sit in the front seat for the rest of our trip to Yazd. When I realized that I could sit in the front without any tricks or games it made me feel very good.

Kay is driving; we agree to eat in the car in order to save some time. It is not even a couple of minutes after leaving Fin Garden just outside of Kashan when we get lovely bread, cheese, and tomato sandwiches passed to us from the back of the car where Esther and Cay are sitting.

Can you look at the map and tell me how far we are from Natanz? Kay asked me.

She shows me a map of Iranian highways. I guess she doesn't know that we Iranians cannot read maps. I take the map and at the same time I get a sandwich to eat; I have the map on my legs trying very hard to find first where we are: I am not sure if Kay realized that I was having such a hard time just finding Natanz.
We are almost 80 kilometers from Natanz where we will stop for a short visit to a 1000 year old Sufi mosque with the attached 700 year old Imamzadeh-ye Abd al-Samad – that is if we can find it.

The Imamzadeh Abd al Samad caretaker must be so happy that not long ago the city of Natanz became internationally know for its nuclear site. I am almost 100% sure that more people have visited this small town since theat announcement than in the last 1000 years. Now Ahamdinejad has even added the nuclear facility to the list of Iran’s tourist attractions.

Driving by the site, I finally realize for the first time with my own eyes why Americans and Israelis (since I don't want to make my British travel companions mad/sad, I will leave them out of this) are so mad about this site. It looks like they cannot do anything to it to destroy it since behalf of a couple of anti-airplane guns everything else is deep underground.

I have to admit that I am really happy to see it with my own eyes, but now that I am seeing it I realize again that what I am seeing is not any different than seeing it on TV. What you see on tv is what you get in person, and what you get is not much. I wish I could see those guys coming out with the barrel deep underground or wherever it is: that's got to be the most famous shot of Iran's nuclear facilities. It is true that all of us Iranians should be happy with our achievement making an atomic bomb nuclear energy, because if you look carefully at the famous barrel picture, there are at least 7 people holding it. That just shows how effective we are with time, resources, and work management.

I have seen a lot of mosques, but Imamzadeh Abd al Samad which was a big Islamic complex in the 14 century, is now on the top of my list of places to visit if you are in Iran. It is really gorgeous and fucking fantastic, you can never imagine you will see something like this in a very small town in the middle of the country. It took us 5 times going up and down the road to find it, and if it was not for the 35 people we asked for directions we would still be looking for it.

Imamzadeh Abd al Samad again proves my theory that Iranians cannot keep places well. If this old building was in any European country, you would have an extra beautiful place to visit. There was no sign on the highway to it, when you are inside you can feel the place screaming for help. I know you cannot just start fixing things if you don't have resources, but my question is how can we say we don't have resources when we spend billions on things we don't need? So much money is wasted in Iran and we still don't have money for renovating lovely places like Imamzadeh Abd al Samad.

Picture taken from internet... website on pic... Not as good as the picture we would have taken had our camera not gone on the fritz...

We still have a long way to go. In the car we talk about almost everything, or should I say: Esther is talking non-stop and Kay and Cay are responding with their low voices. I have a hard time to follow what they are saying so I only make small comments here and there and usually nobody cares.

One thing I need to advise all Iranians traveling with their foreign friends not to do is; don't tell them that Iran has 4 seasons, Oh man, you cannot do that. Even though we may know we have the best spring, summer, fall, and winter, don't say that loud and clear to any foreigner. They will never stop laughing at you and will use it against all of your other correct points.

The minute I mentioned our four seasons they started a long and painful attack. In the next couple of days, Kay alone brought this subject up 7,123, 456 times and every time I knew where we were heading.

Oh Yeah, this is the most ridiculous of all, Kay said.

What do you mean? Cay asked in surprise.

Iranians think they are the only country in the world that has 4 seasons, Esther answered. I always make fun of them, Esther continued

Do you mean 4 seasons at the same time? Cay asked.

Esther said, No, just 4 seasons. I don't think Cay knows that Esther and Kay and I are having political discussion.

Oh god what did I do? I asked myself. I cannot say to Kay you may have 4 seasons (I still don't believe it) but you also have 364 days of rain during the year. I know if I say that I will be in big trouble.

This thing about 4 seasons made our trip more fun. We or better to say they referred to it as much as they could, and we did that for different reasons.
Driving to Nain we realize we may be way late with getting to our evening’s final destination in the middle of the fucking desert.

Our visit to Nain impressed my travel companions more than it did me. It was fun to get there right before eftar. In the last 10 minutes before prayers a lot of men and women showed up at the old tenth century Jameh mosque. The sky was impossible blue and the mosque looked beautiful against that sky. We drank tea. When it was time to leave, Esther got ready to drive. It was her first time driving in Iran, and I was getting nervous.

Photo taken from the Wikipedia site on Nain... obviously not as good as the one in our heads...

1 comment:

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