SHOPPING IN DESERT TOWNS & SUFI POET, IRAN 1976

SATURDAY 13TH NOVEMBER, 1976

Good road to Kerman.  A lovely town with a big square – grass, trees, walks and seats in middle, archways with shops making up 4 sides.  Very interesting busy covered bazaar; lovely paisley patterned scarves, and carpets.  Chris, Nikki and I did the food shopping in this area … good vegy and nut stalls.

Men here either wear turbans (big white ones) or woolly beige hats (pulled down into a helmet).

Several eating places and barber shop in square – Nikki tried to get Chris to have a shave in one!
Cay shops in Iran tend to be “men’s clubs” – some places wont serve women.  Went with Bill & Shirley and other two to eating place in bazaar.  V limited choice in Iran – mostly serve chelo kebab or chicken and rice.  Women all ate in a balcony area upstairs (men with them too, so we went up there and had chelo kebab, onion and bread followed by cay.    Afterwards rushed to buy woolly hat from stall in square – they tried to get 600 rials for it – must have thought I was simple – got it down to 160 rials …
                                                                                   Exhausted cooks take a nap (Chris and Nikki)

Next stop was Mahan. Saw round the most beautiful mosque – mausoleum of a poet Shah Nematollah Vali (Sect of the Dervishes).  Mosque approached through 2 cool, shady courtyards with tanks in the middle (one with a drake cruising in it!), lots of trees and arches, blue and white tiles and pretty minarets (2 at front and 2 at back).  Were given long veils to put on and took off our shoes. Lovely Persian carpets to pad on.  Nice and light because roof and arches white.  Wide passageway all round a central room.  4 lovely double wooden doors inlaid with ivory and different woods.  Central marble table with roses and crysanthemums and books on top.  Pictures of Mohammed on walls.  Off one door was a small room with big slab covered in coloured cloth (tomb?).  Small rooms off passageway with prayer mats, books, pictures, flowers, lamps.  Lovely peaceful place.  Fran and I found small entrance and followed it through to attractive back courtyard with people occupying rooms around it.  Lovely view of mosque through archway with mountains in background.

Wandered across to little shop – v friendly people – little girl with bright blue eyes

Prepared veg in bus – nearly cracked up de-stalking currents then dicing garlic – not a fulfilling role!  Bill came to my aid.  People said it was my punishment for the custard.  Made a great risotto!

Late session in bus – finished off cherry brandy.”

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