We’re just chilling for a couple hours in the Laos border town of Huay Xai, before catching an overnight bus to Luang Prabang. We arrived here a few days ago in order to do something called the Gibbon Experience in the nearby Bokeo Nature Preserve. It was amazing (and will be up on the blog tomorrow), but a little grueling as well. We spent three days mired in mud and drenched completely through with sweat. We had planned to leave for Luang Prabang last night after getting back from the jungle, but were feeling pretty dirty and beat up so we managed to change our bus tickets to today. Our plans after Luang Prabang are still up in the air. We want to visit Vietnam and Cambodia before heading back to Bangkok for our flight home on September 4, but the border crossing from Luang Prabang into Vietnam towards Hanoi…Continue Reading
Last year I remember thinking, â€œOh, my 27th birthday is on a Thursday. Weâ€™ll just have to celebrate the day after.â€ But, in Iran Thursday is like our Saturday. The weekend here is Thursday and Friday. So, it worked out perfectly. I got to spend a â€œSaturdayâ€ night on the town, in Esfahan of all places! We headed out at noon thinking that it would be a long day so weâ€™d start later in order to see some of the nightlife in Iran. Besides being in love with the baking, Chris and I both fell in love with the fresh banana milkshakes. Chris thought that’d be the perfect way to start my special day. After our refreshment we started walking through the winding, cool streets of the covered bazaar to get to the largest mosque in Iran, the Jameh Mosque. It was prayer time when we reached the mosque, so…Continue Reading
We both thoroughly enjoyed Esfahan so we stayed for six days. We visited the sites and met many people along the way. In fact, out of all the places in Iran, Esfahan was the most approachable. It was almost impossible for us to walk 100 feet without meeting someone. The mosques in Esfahan and in Iran in general, are absolutely beautiful pieces of architecture. Hopefully these photos captured some of that beauty for you to enjoy.
Some shots from Tehran. We spent six nights in Iran’s capital, enjoying the wonderful hospitality of Mr. Moussavi at the Firouzeh Hotel. This place gets high marks in the Lonely Planet, thanks to Mr. Moussavi, and we can concur. This gentleman is so nice, he not only helped us figure out our onward travel plans, he even lent us his cell phone for the day. The hotel also has wifi, a first for us here in Iran. We enjoyed Tehran a lot, but also just enjoyed staying in one place for so many days. The city is a huge, sprawling mess, but in a good way. Walking across the huge distances of the city is impossible, but the underground metro is modern and excellent. We found foreign food for the first time since I dont even know when (Italy?), and enjoyed a meal at a Greek restaurant, where the steaks…Continue Reading
We are most likely in Esfahan as you read this, but all of these photos are from Tehran. I haven’t felt very comfortable pulling out my SLR here, so I’ve been using the point-shoot camera. Perhaps that feeling is irrational. Either way, all the photos I have posted here are from our little point-shoot, which makes takingÂ indiscriminateÂ photosÂ incredibleÂ easy.
It had been a while since weâ€™d visited a museum. I was beginning to itch because of it. Â So to enterain ourselves during our first full day in Tehran we decided to checkout the National Museum of Iran. Itâ€™s the perfect size for a visitor to look at the entire collection in 2-hours, meaning you’re satisfied and content when you leave rather than overwhelmed and tired. Youâ€™ll never believe how much it cost to visit the museum! It was .50 cents per adult! So Chris and I spent $1.00. Unbelievable. The museum very professionally displays its collection of bone tools, Palaeolithic lithics (stone tools), metal and clay carvings from animals to humans and grand artifacts from the famous site of Persepolis, which weâ€™ll be visiting at the end of our trip.Â Iâ€™m simply in love with the Persepolis carvings. I love the way they carved the beards, hair and turbans.…Continue Reading
The Unesco World Heritage site Takht-e-Soleiman is 42 kilometers northeast from a small town called Takab in Iran.Â It was the spiritual centre of the ancient state religion called Zoroastrianism. This 1500-year old site must have been remarkable in its heyday, because the fortifying walls that still stand are very impressive.Â It is truly a remarkable location with its height, the view and the lake in the middle.Â The site is actually 20-meters higher than the surrounding area. The height of the site is primarily due to the deposition of lake sediment! It is still possible to walk through what use to be the Fire temple.Â Back in the day, the temple contained an eternal flame which was â€œprovided thanks to a natural volcanic gas channelled through ceramic pipesâ€ (Iran 2008, Lonely Planet).Â The site also honours the elements of wind and water.Â Seeing as the site has such a…Continue Reading
Road lines are more like abstract paintings for drivers to admire. People simply do not pay any attention to them. What would be a three lane road back home becomes a five lane, or six lane road here. Â This is an observation quickly made seconds after stepping into a vehicle in Iran. Following the advice of our Iran Lonely Planet travel guide, Chris and I decided to hire a taxi to take us from a city called Zanjan to an archaeological site called Takht-e-Soleiman for a couple hours and then on to a small city called Bijar. We found a driver and agreed with his cost of $50 US dollars for the trip. When we came into the mountainous part of the drive our taxi driver started cutting corners.Â He would drive in the wrong lane on blind corners, on winding mountain roads that were marked with solid double lines.Â …Continue Reading
It sure is getting hot wearing my head scarf and the knee length “manto” (a.k.a. thin jacket). It is the law for me to wear a head scarf. I have some other ones you’ll see me modeling in future photos. Â CulturalÂ pressureÂ and local fashion make me feel like I should wear the manto. People sure stare as us a lot withÂ curiosity. Many people say “hello” as we walk by or they stop us on the side walk to say “Hello. How are you? Welcome to my city and to Iran. Where are you from?” They are the most friendly, curious people I’ve ever encountered. My favorite things here are the fruit shakes and the baked goods. They are both delicious. The other night to help relieve some of my culture shock I searched Chris’s computer for some up beat music. I found Michael Buble! Ah, love that guy. His voice and…Continue Reading