Esfahan

The bus to Isfahan was the same price as the taxi fare from Yazd city center to the bus terminal: 50000 IRR, very cheap for a 5h bus trip! If we started almost empty, some other passengers joined in the first hour, so that it became half full. The driver stopped also to let us to get some food and water, but more interestingly, 3 times to show the drive log to the police offices on the way. I suppose these drive logs consists on how many people are in the bus (buying the ticket is anonymous, you don’t need to show your ID) with the ticket book or maybe some driving disc.

Another interesting stop was when the driver got 2 huge bags with industrial conditioned biscuits and orange juices and distributed them to the passengers for free. The bus itself is a standard Volvo bus with the sits in good condition and air conditioned. So a good bus and service and a 5h trip!

The Couchsurfing experience in Isfahan at Siamak’s place was like being a VIP. Coming from a good upper middle class family, he stopped his job as civil & construction engineer to better learn French and English, in order to immigrate into Quebec!

With his car, Siamak picked me up in the bus terminal, went first home, he is living with his parents in a good suburbs South from Esfahan. I used this place to spend some time working on my pictures and blog. Siamak was particularly interested at improving his French and English, so we were often switching between these languages. It was very interesting to share our opinions in many subjects. If Iran has a lot of problems and freedom restrictions, I also insisted that the western countries are not all green. The recent euro crisis shows that Europe is fragile, and the democracy suffers also from many lobbies, not as religious as in Iran (although the Jewish Lobby is quite powerful in USA!) but more financial: we let the banks rule the money and the economy, we see the consequences.

I used the first day at his place to work on my pictures and blog, but joined him at his French class, which anyway a conversation class. The teacher and all other students were glad to ask me many questions about me, France, Europe, my trip, or even wine –I missed good wine in Shiraz, which is also a family of wines– and asked them also a few details! It was a lot of fun! As Siamak, most students in his class are in their 30ies, have a good graduation and some year of work experience, and the main motivation for many is to be able to migrate to Quebec, Canada! Thus, they were very motivated having conversation with a native speaker!

The day after, Siamak and I went to see the marvelous sightseeing in Esfahan. But we were not alone: two other friends from the class and the teacher join us! So I was speaking French almost all the day! Esfahan calls itself the culture capital of Iran, and if it is not enough, a proverb from the 16th century describes it as “Half of the World”. The Imam Square is indeed wonderful, having executive (palace for the Shah), commercial (gate to the bazaar) and religious centers (mosques). In the palace, we were playing with the genius Dom architecture where you can speak to one corner, and your voice can be heard in the opposite corner.

The ceramics in the Mosques are stunning. The Jameh Mosque is the biggest one in Iran, and also one of the most beautiful. The bath in Esfahan was also in some point nicer than the one saw in Shiraz because the whole ground was in marble.

The Armenian Church “Vank” is also interesting; with very colorful paints all over. Leaving the church, with the permission of her Dad, a 17-year-old girl started to speak with me just to practice her English and ask me some questions. A little strange but nice! I wish her all the best; it seems to be another candidate for exile!

Siamak, Hima and I went also to some mountains around Esfahan, making a nice small hike at sunset.

After 4 nice days with Siamak, it was time to move on. Before bringing me to the bus terminal, we went at the central post 15 min before the 2pm closure. Normally, that late, the workers don’t accept package anymore, but they were kind enough to get mine: I let send two packages to Europe, I wonder when they will arrive! At least, I can follow them online!

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