Wiki Info Yazd
Still in Kerman:
The morning was somewhat frustrating in that being Friday, our planned excursion to the oldest working bazaar in Iran ran into closures at every turn. This was our own fault since what should have been our first tour day in Tehran we were so exhausted we slept. Therefore, we should have been to the bazaar yesterday in the original itinerary. As it was the Ganj Ali Khan Sq hammam and Jameh Mosque (from 1349) were both closed as well as many shops. It was fine with me especially since there was an old lady fortune teller by the qanat reservoir who told us our fortunes. One thing she told me was the next 3 days will be especially good and things will go well thru the end of the month...yeah! We also were locked out of the Zoroaster quarter fire temple, bummer! We did eat a very fine lunch at the Hammam-e Vakil dating from 19th century, now a tea house and restaurant.
Onward to Caravanserai Overnight:
By 2:15 we were on the road again with our trusty driver, Reza friend of Mehdi and Reza's cousin who is just about to complete her studies in Aeronautical Engineering. A bright girl, very independent who is also studying German and is very fluent in English. We were most impressed by her...at 25 she definately is going somewhere! Her mother is a history teacher in high school and father an army officer who encouraged her to be independent! It was a long drive to the caravanseri Zein-aldin Robat near Yazd where we go tomorrow. Had an unexpected (since we were told the tour only included breakfasts & lunch), but very nice home cooked dinner. Another fine discussion about religion & beliefs with Mehdi concluded our day. This a first, sleeping in a caravanseri!
Well, we counted our chickens too early? When we were leaving and went to pick up our passports we were asked to pay for our dinner! At first we thought, okay we miss calculated and indeed, dinner was not included so we'll pay ride expecting it to be equivalent to what was served perhaps $3-5 US! When he quoted the figure of $16 each we thought he was joking or we heard wrong (the money thing here can be a bit confusing since it is denominated in rials but most every price is in donar). We heard right! Even Mehdi was taken by surprise. A bit of an argument ensued which ended in my turning over all my rials and Bon 100000 of hers equivalent to $23 US total, still a huge ripoff. The fellow asking for the money said he couldn't do anything, it was the manager who set the price! Where was the manager we should have asked but we just wanted to leave we were so upset. The final insult was that the fellow expected to get a ride with us into Yazd! Bon was furious and said absolutely NOT! It was quite amazing...the fellow told the driver(almost like you'd expect a small child to react) to turn off the AC in the car, I suppose thinking it some kind of punishment not realizing we prefer the windows open, ha! We felt bad that Mehdi had been placed in that uncomfortable situation because he was not told any additional charges before dinner. We do not usually eat dinner and would have been perfectly happy with our 'snacks'.
After arriving in Yazd we checked into Silk Road Hotel
where we encountered the most number of foreign tourists yet. From UK, Holland, Sweden, Japan and Australia. A short stop to drop our bags and then off to explore the old town which is where our hotel is located. Immediately out the door is Jaam-e mosque, then thru the narrow 'streets' (dangerous motorcycle raceways) to the oldest structure in Yazd, Bogheh-e-Davazdah in 11th century =12 Imams Mausoleum and next door Alexander Prison where we sat for what Mehdi said should be 5 min. which turned into an hour+. Bon and he got into a discussion which began as a sort of comparison of where US and Iran are similar. Both suffering from lack of job opportunities for a very high percentage of university graduates. Both having a very right wing, wealthy ruling elite (in the US the 1% represented by corporate/banking interests, in Iran the ruling mullahs) preventing any kind of progressive change for the middle class causing disenchantment with government and it's inability to address the real problems facing our countries in the not too distant future. Both making it more difficult for H.S. graduates to go on to university of further education - US making it financially prohibitive (except for the wealthy or those willing to borrow their lives away in debt). Iran, where 70+% of those in higher education are women they are beginning to put limits on the # of women allowed to enter universities. Plus, there is growing discontent with the number of refugees from Afghanistan who do not mix or have become a drain on the Iranian economy...much like the Latino population in the US illegally. This all led to how Europe - Holland & France in particular - is beginning to crack down on Muslim women who insist on wearing certain clothing in public. Mehdi felt it should be a question of only the woman's choice, the state has no right to dictate what clothing people/women wear. Bon was quite indignant about this since she MUST wear a head scarf in Iran but she couldn't get Mehdi to see the similarity in the two situations! So after an hour they agreed it was a matter of degree, and felt education was the best answer. Of course, this began another whole series of subjects concerning the decline in education in the US, the pressure to eliminate the Dept. of Education, and a disagreement over the role of education in a 'democracy' -training to suit religious, corporate, or private interests or development of individuals' abilities to think, reason, and solve problems and manage their lives. Mehdi loves to talk which is most enjoyable most times and gives us a lot to think about as well as some insight into the Persian mind. We ate lunch and spent the afternoon waiting for the daytime temps to cool before venturing out at 6. I met a Swedish gal on break from studying economics/business and Arabic in Jordan and her UK friend who was in Iran for his 3rd time studying Persian and Arabic languages. She 23, he turning 30 tomorrow - and quite concerned about being now 'over-the-hill', ha! In the eve after getting bus tickets to go to Isfahan tomorrow at 3 and exchanging more $$$ since we 'blew' so much on dinner the night before, we visited the oldest Zoroaster Fire Temple (fire burning since 3rd century), the Towers of Silence - Zoroaster place of burial from 2500 yrs ago+/-, and finally, a 'performance' in the House of Strength where men practice feats of strength to music in a ritualized way dating back perhaps 3000 years.
Thus far I have observed in Iran the relative lack of a public transport system, people preferring to drive their own car or motorcycle or taxis. Gas is subsidized at about $1.70 per gallon ( it used to be far less but the got. can't afford it any longer) and people complain! Wait 'til they have to pay the market price. I can't believe the drivers and the traffic!
Continue with QUOTE FROM LP.... "Forget religious fanatics, gun toting kidnappers or any other threats you've associated with Iran, you're more likely to get into trouble with the traffic than anything else. Iranians will tell you with a perverse mix of horror and glee that Iran has the highest per capita number of road deaths on earth - in 2006 that was nearly 28,000 people, with another 270,000 injured. Somewhat ironically, Iran's president Ahmadinejad holds a PhD in traffic management. He has promised to reduce the death toll: "The rate of accidents is below our nation's dignity and should be reduced", he said in 2007 If you've traveled elsewhere in the region Iran's chaos may come as little surprise, but if you've arrived from the West you will likely be horrified. No one pays any notice to road rules. The willingness of a car to stop at a car busy intersection is directly proportional to the size of the vehicle's in its path; that's right, it's survival of the biggest. Playing on this, some cunning motorists have fitted deafening air horns, usually found on trucks and buses, to their Payment and Prides. A quick blast sees other traffic suddenly screech to a halt, fearing they've been outsized. Meanwhile the modest little Peugeot/Paykan/Pride sails through the intersection. Size (or at least the perception that you're big) matters Some cars and all motorbikes also use the contract bus lanes (along which buses little in the opposite direction to the rest of the traffic). Motorbikes speed through red lights, drive and career through crowded bazaars. While traffic in major cities rarely goes fast enough to cause a serious accident, never underestimate the possibility of dying a horrible death while crossing the road. Vehicles never stop at pedestrian crossings. You will quickly realize that there's little alternative to stepping out in front of the traffic , as the Iranians do, and hoping that the drivers will slow down. It may not be much consolation, but the law says that if a driver hits a pedestrian the driver is always the one at fault and the one liable to pay good money to the family of the victim. Until you've got your head around the traffic, perhaps the best advice comes from one pragmatic reader: 'Cross a busy street with an Iranian person, but make sure the Iranian is closest to the approaching traffic.'
This is the best description of traffic in Iran so I took it verbatum from our Lonely Planet guidebook.Wiki Info About Islam Holy Sites Check Yadz