|wonderful bridges over a dry river|
|mullah my arse|
We wander through the bazaar, beyond the busy lanes and deeper into the quieter parts where the old shops are shuttered up and abandoned. Out the other side we emerge onto a busy shopping street. This is where most of the trade is these days - in ordinary shops where locals can park outside, or double-park, without traipsing through the dusty old pedestrianised bazaar. The car is bringing an end to traditional shopping.
Sitting in another big square we are surrounded by Iranian families who poke and prod us to see what we're made of, figuratively speaking that is. A young child is pushed forwards to ask us where we are from, what are our names, the usual questions. Before it gets tiresome, a film crew appear and the female director asks us to say what we think about Esfahan into the camera. Our thirty-second platitude-filled effort is sure to be deleted. Walking up to the Friday Mosque the shopping intensity increases. And then entering the huge open courtyard of the mosque all is peace and tranquility again. We take our time examining the tilework inside and around the four large portals that overlook the courtyard. A man with a feather duster remonstrates with women who are not wearing a chador - and directs them to the box of spares kept handy for visitors. Gayle joins the trendy young Iranian women in skinny jeans and tight jackets who are being dusted into submission and dons the extra bit of material. Meanwhile a chatty young boy shows off his good English to me. He wonders whether we've had any problems cycling in Iran, especially Gayle, as it's illegal in Iran for women to ride bikes. His English is good, but he clearly lacks criticial skills. We explain that it is not illegal for women to ride bicycles in Iran. Mohammed might not have gone to the mountain on a mountain bike, but nor is there anything in the Quran about it being forbidden to females. A lightning bolt flashes down at my feet from the heavens.
|mmm, would it work in our bathroom?|