Sunday, 4 September 2011

Second Day in Esfahan

The photo explanations:
The view.

The two girls make the initial foray and we practice English.

Negotiating a group shot.

The group shot.

"It will be a shawl" in any language.

A shot of the Imam square on the way to dinner.

The email that goes with them:
On the first day, after going as a group to Imam (which I am suddenly convinced is Iman) square and mosque and the Ali Quapu palace, Jess and I set off on our own to wander through the five winding kilometres of bazaar to find the Jameh mosque. In our secret hearts we were hoping to meet some local women and to be taken into their hidden inner world.

We wandered and gawked and asked directions to make sure we were still heading the right way.

We found the boys at the Jameh mosque, but failed at meeting any local women. The mosque was filled with that vast silence that makes it easier to believe in god.

Yesterday, I went to the park in the afternoon to drink mate with Juan. We sat in the shade on the grass and watched dragonflies hovering in the sun. When the wind blew, the first of the dead leaves drifted down, turning golden in the light.

All around us were groups of people enjoying Friday, which is the weekend in Iran. Also it was the end of Ramadan holiday and school holidays and delightfully not too hot. Everywhere were tea pots heating over gas burners and people snacking on nuts and seeds and the sweet stuff that gets served with the tea.

And then it happened. Two girls, cousins, 13 and 12, came up and we started talking. They were astonished and blushing to discover I was 33 and surprised to hear I had no children. (They told me, just as we were leaving that their mothers were 35 and 32 respectively). I showed them the picture of my 'husband' and explained that he was 'back at the hotel'.

They went and got their mothers and then aunty. My knitting was very good, very fine and the aunties, giggling, declared Juan very cute. All questions and comments about Juan were directed at me. When they asked what job my father does, I had to fudge a bit and say that he works in a bank, because I have enough trouble explaining what he does to fluent English speakers. One of their dads works in a bank, too, and so does their grandfather. When they asked what my brother was doing I decided to have a crack at explaining he makes whiskey. That was an amusing ten minutes of pantomime.

We gave them mate to try and then they went to get grandmother and brought over tea and snacks. Grandmother was shown my knitting, then the photo of my 'husband' was handed around again. He is very handsome.

The girls want to earn lots of money when they grow up and plan to study hard at university and get good jobs to achieve this end. One is very shy in class and the other is giggly and fiery.

I don't think I stopped grinning for the rest of the day. Especially as I was given a souvenir by a woman I had mistaken as the owner of the restaurant we ate dinner in and had some spectacular ice-cream on the way home.

1 comment:

Morag said...

I love this story. I am grinning too.