I have to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect from these cities, I hadn’t read anything about them I’d just been told by everyone that I couldn’t go to Iran without visiting. Thus they were thrown in the plan. Everything I’d done in Iran prior was away from major civilisation with just a small amount of Iranian tourists.
I think what makes these places special is the people. All the locals I’d met on my trip so far were all super friendly and hospitable; the 2 lads I couch surfed with in Esfahan (Reza and Javad) were tops, 2 of 3 days I was there were spend socialising, walking aimless around the city, eating Safron icecream, drinking Islamic beer (peach or pineapple flavour, delicious!), not really doing anything overly stressful or touristy. The final day I got my act together and saw some mosques.
The best experience I had was with a beautiful family (talking about you girls!) I stayed with for 6 days in Shiraz (Sahar, Sadaf, Mum, Dad and Barfi). Really down the earth family considering the restrictions put on them by the Iranian Government. I’m just going to just a few examples of these so you get what I mean:
– No dancing
– No BF/GFs
– No dogs in public
– Females can’t ride bicycles/motorbikes (but can sit on the back)
– No alcohol or drugs of any kind
– No satellite TV (although everyone has it, $50 for the box)
– No Facebook, Youtube, Australian google, Travelpod or many other useful sites
– No constant internet
– No foreign media
– No foreigners are allowed to enter a locals home (couch surfing is illegal, but funny that the website isn’t filtered in Iran)
– No shorts! AAAAHHHHHHH
After spending 3 weeks in the country I can comfortably say that all of these rules are broken without much consequence, all long as you’re careful. Iranian homemade vodka doesn’t taste too bad, better than Smirnoff! And all the government filters can be avoided with a simple $2/month proxy. So life isn’t so bad.
In the 6 days I learnt much about their culture/traditions, went to an Iranian birthday party in a garden outside of town, went to another party outside of town, went hiking through a river with about 40 people (pretty much turned into a giant roving picnic) and learnt how to dance Iran style.
These guys don’t stop dancing! Because it’s illegal they grab every opportunity they can. The hike for example, after returning back to the mini buses, the aisle down the guts of the bus turned into a dance floor, when that wasn’t enough, the buses stopped midway home for a quick 30min dance off followed by more dancing in the bus for the remaining half of the trip, absolutely hilarious. People know how to enjoy themselves.
My trip to Yazd was a little too rushed, I only had 1 afternoon and the following morning there; most of which was spent eating icecream and lying in a little hidden park among the mud brick city having a giggle with an interesting Italian bird who was couch surfing the same place I was.
Yes the mosques, old buildings and schools were beautiful and should not be missed but I felt the real attraction won’t be found just walking around the city.
P.S. The airport in Tehran felt like I was sitting in a Victoria’s Secret shoot (glamorous, some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen!!!!), just that it was Halloween and everyone had opted for the bed sheet/ghost costume. Good times.