1976 – PERSEPOLIS AND SHIRAZ, IRAN – AND CAMPING ON CONCRETE!

WEDNESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER, 1976

Quite a crowd of spectators when we got up, including girls.  Scenery of dusty plains and impressive cliff faces.

Stopped and looked at Tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasagadae … saw Tombs set in cliff face of Ataxerxes, Xerxes and Darius the Great … on to Persepolis

Spent half an hour at beginning doing nothing while Rob tried to mend the cine camera [this was a bulky, heavy contraption loaned to me for the trip.  It never did work properly …!]

Magnificent ruins … amusing two headed beasts … fantastic view over Persepolis and tent village and striped marquee in trees

[the tent city was the Shah’s obscenely extravagant celebrations in the desert in 1971 to mark 2500th anniversary of Persian monarchy where food was flown in from Maxims in Paris and VIPs – 60 monarchs and heads of state – were put up in tents with marble bathrooms.  It was probably the pivotal event that led to the regime’s downfall]

I tried to get in to see the Shah’s tent but gate was closed and guard spoke no english …

A family squatting nearby – photographed funny little figure

Got to SHIRAZ that afternoon – began to rain a little … tomb of famous 14th century poet (Hafez) Had a look round mosque with Heidi and Di – lovely pink flowers and designs on tiles, as well as blue and yellow.  Courtyard rather overgrown, uneven and some flagstones were up. Lovely twisted columns supporting ‘Winter’ courtyard (covered over) with narrow tank in middle.  Some men were washing at little taps along side of tank and others were sitting chatting on mats under some scaffolding …

Museum – small pentagonal building in nice garden with trees and walks, but all dusty and broken show cases all that left (except some new telephone receivers!) … walked down bazaar – strong smell of spices, lots of carpets and drapers.  Had delicious banana milkshake – 2 whole bananas, really creamy.  Heidi had chilled pomegranate juice.

Snacks to buy in Iran are – mast (yoghurt), dates, great selection of nuts, lovely ‘gaz’ (nougat), cheese (goat’s) kebabs in large slabs of flat bread, sometimes with tomatoes and daffodil leaves (or look like!), fruit is oranges, bananas or apples and a strange thing that looks like a peach but tastes acidic and leaves mouth dry!  Also dried figs.

Drove on and free camped by a salt lake on concrete (or at least it felt like it trying to get pegs in – used stones for pegs in the end!)”

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