SYNOPSIS:   Nicola was resting for a day.  I ventured out people watching and when permitted, photographing them.  Curious looks on both sides.

We switched hotels this morning, no easy task when the town again was clogged with hundreds of thousands of cars and people. The ten minute walk from one hotel to the other took the taxi almost half an hour.  But it transported our luggage which, as you know, got very heavy due to the shopping spree in Esfahan.  Nicola wanted a day of rest and read up about Persepolis for tomorrow.  So I ventured out on my own exploring our new neighborhood.

What is going on?!  In the span of one hour I got two compliments for my unusual clothing, one from a woman, one from a young guy on the street!  The baggy pants, mind you!  I got curious looks and some smiles as well as some “Hello”, “Where are you from?”  But none of the rude remarks, the snickers behind my back, or the dreadful stares I have gotten used to since Teheran.  This was delightful!  The town was packed with Iranian visitors.  In the afternoon I kept walking around and encouraged by the friendly reception, I started to approach people asking if I could take their pictures.  Some of the most wonderful older females were happy to engage in conversations with me (hand and feet more than verbal), but would not allow me to take their picture.  Others, when they saw me taking pictures of people jumped in and wanted their pictures taken as well.  Hardly anyone spoke English, but my big camera said it all.

Just around the corner from our hotel, which is splendidly centrally located, there is tent city!  I can’t believe that the city is not enforcing any restrictions, but hundreds of people are camping out along the sidewalks, in little parks, and always near the mosques.  First I thought they were visiting the shrines, but I think the concentration around the holy sites has a lot more practical reasons:  every shrine and mosque has plenty and clean toilets!  I so wanted to photograph the inside of some of the tents but the people I asked, would not allow me to take their picture.  People had rolled out carpets inside these small tents; they had cookers there, toys, shoes, clothes and food.  Little communities had formed around central outdoor cooking areas.  Despite all of this outdoor living, the parks were not littered as one would expect and except for the crazy traffic things all seemed quite orderly.

From all I could tell, lots of minorities were among the people walking the streets.  There were tribal women, Afghani men, and Asian minorities.  However, the crowds were so thick that I did worry about my backpack being picked a bit.  But nothing happened.

Nothing else happened today.  Rather than boring you with anything else, I will pull out some of the photographs of people and leave you with a feast for the eyes.

Good night.