Saying goodbye to Isfahan

Here we are on the last full night in Iran. It is time to head back to Tehran to catch out flights home to the US tomorrow night. And I find that I really have learned so much and enjoyed this tour far more than I ever could have imagined. Iran is an amazing country to say the least and the people are friendly and just as interested in us as we are in in them.

A few things happened today to remind me of that. In the main square boys riding in the horse drawn carriages would wave at us and hope we would take their picture. Families visiting the square would watch us pass by then smile and wave or say hello. When we were visiting the river bank to see one of several majestic bridges in the city, two men riding bikes by us suddenly stopped and asked on of the group if he would pose in a photo with them taken with their camera (I got a photo too, so we would have a copy as well!). The woman who is in charge of the computers at the Abassi Hotel learned a new term from another of our group today – she asked for his signature on the interent usage bill and he called it his John Hancock, which required explanation. Now she is trying to use the term with all the Americans she talks to today – please bive me your John Hancock on this bill! Yesterday she said something was “cool”, when I was talking to her.

And for all the talk of sanctions, well, just take that collander you might have in your kitchen and try to fill it with water – that is about how effective the sancations are to the average Iranian. Where it is hurting them is in things like no spare airplane parts for their domestic fleet – not a pleasant thought at all! We all have changed money here mostly at the start of the trip, only to find that almost everything can be paid for in dollars and change often given in dollars. ALmost like Lebanon where the conversion and acceptance of the US dollar is prevelant and there is almost no need to exchange money. Maybe a few of the vendors in small out of the way shops might prefer rials, but that’s about it.

The food has been very good to excellent. Fish is much more common here than I expected as well as shrimp dishes. Fresh water and farmed fish, as well as seafood from the Gulf are available throughout the country. Of course we often had what became known as “very special chicken kebab” but also mutton and beef dishes were available. My favorite so far is a chicken dish with pomegranite paste and ground walnuts over rice- yum! Lots of stews and grilled meats, rice in a variety of styles, and soups. The best being the barley tomato soup. Safron ice cream is a treat too, and we had that several times for desert. Food was never in short supply on this tour and I know that we all probably ate too much! It will be time to hit the gym when I get home!

Once back home I will have more to write, and go over the tour some more and the sights we have seen. Now its time to go rearrange my luggage and make sure I can fit everything in my bags and get them on the airplane! Oh boy. I still have pistachios to buy- the best pistachios come from Iran- I don’t care what the California nut people say with their odd new commercials!

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