Na’in is a small town in central Iranian desert.
With the help of tour guide and internet cafe owner Mahmood Mohammadipour (ph# +98 939 863 6090) we went on a short tour. We saw a citadel, a traditional house turned museum…
… Jame Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran…
… and a partially deserted side of the town. Na’in used to be a city inhabited by camel owners. With the introduction of trucks, the business of trading camels was lost. Furthermore, after the Islamic Revolution, rich people gradually abandoned their homes to blend in the working class and avoid harassment. So today many buildings are abandoned and partially collapsed.
With the development of modern shopping areas, the old bazaar lost it’s importance and most shop keepers left. Today only a handful of businesses remain active.

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Esfahan 2/2

The Chehelsotoon Palace is highly appreciated for it’s exterior architecture (wooden columns, mirror decorations, water pool etc) and wall paintings. The third picture depicts the arrival of Humayun, Mughal Emperor of India, at the Shah’s palace.
Also of interest is the Decorative Arts Museum, exhibiting Persian works of painting, sculpture, calligraphy, pottery etc.
There is also a public bath turned into museum, similar to the one in Shiraz but better documented.
And this is the most unusual sight in Esfahan, the Monar Jonban. Due to the structural characteristics, both minarets can be shaken by a person climbing inside to the top and pushing against the wall. In addition to this, shaking one minaret will send the movement to the other, causing it to shake too and all the bells attached to ring. I will post a video of this as soon as I have Youtube access.

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Isfahan 1/2

Isfahan’s main tourist area is the Imam Square. At one end it has the Imam Mosque (a UNESCO World Heritage site, together with the square). On the other 3 sides there is a huge bazaar with shops selling Persian carpets (the one pictured had an asking price of USD 200), handicrafts, antiques and sweets.
In addition, there are several cafes and traditional restaurants. A special dish is called “dizy”: arrives at the table as a soup that has been boiled for hours. The server will separate the liquid (to be eaten with bread) and then mash the vegetables and meat until they become a puree. Eat it with raw onion and ayran. Delicious!
A fun way to explore more is to rent a bicycle (free for up to 3 hours). There are several centuries-old bridges, as well as gardens and parks to be seen. Not too far is also the old Armenian quarter featuring churches and narrow alleys.
At night most parks and gardens become picnic areas. The ground is cold but the people bring huge rugs and sit on them.
Many tourist guides talk about what to do when you visit an Iranian home. Just when we were asking ourselves what would be the point for mentioning that, since foreigners rarely have friends in Iran, we found the answer: as we were asking for directions, a couple on the street started writing something in Farsi on our map. Another passer-by who knew some English explained that was the family’s address and they were inviting us for lunch the next day. It was such a warm welcome from complete strangers. We exchanged gifts and they prepared traditional Iranian food, absolutely amazing! They asked if we wanted to eat European style (at the table) but we preferred to experience the Iranian way.

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The survivor

When you see the flotation device on the screen of the laptop you know something is not right. Finally, after 3 years and 5 months since last Windows install, it happened: our beloved computer got sick in India (like we also did). A few days ago I decided to attempt a disinfection. But the kernel was badly affected so it wouldn’t boot at all. Fortunately, the built-in recovery system helped me backup the data on removable media and then I restored the hard drive to the factory state. Mission accomplished!

What is unusual about this computer is its toughness. You can see the metal frame since the plastic is already ground at the corners. It got covered with mud in Argentina, in dust in Atacama, got wet and dropped on cement countles times! It accompanied us in more than 30 countries on 4 continents. Neither the extreme heat of Mexico, the humidity of Vietnam or the rough roads of Brazil managed to break it and it still works without fault, 9 years since the manufacturing and 6 years since we purchased it.

So after removing the viral infection I was truly happy our Thinkpad X40 didn’t go the way the rest of our electronics (camera, gps, intercom etc) went!

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The main boulevard in Shiraz is Zand. Most hotels and many attractions are situated nearby.
This is the Arg of Karim Khan citadel and former prison, situated in the old part of the city. One of the towers developed a lean over centuries.
Also in the old city we found the Vakil Bazaar, the Vakil Bath and the Vakil mosque.
There are some Persian gardens in Shiraz. All of them have square shapes and a water canal system. Such gardens influenced the appearance of the mughal gardens in India.
The main attraction near Shiraz is, of course, Persepolis. This city was built around 500 BC to serve as the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was later destroyed by Alexander the Great so it is not so well preserved. Not too far is the Naqsh-e Rustam, a unusual grave site for the Achaemenid rulers.

One of my first accomplishments upon arriving in Iran was to lose the camera I acquired in Bhopal for USD 120. I was able to shoot ~1500 pictures with it, giving an average cost of USD 0.08 per picture. Since this incident happened while returning from Persepolis, all those pictures are lost. Therefore, I am posting some public domain pictures for reference.

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