The ride to the hotel is pretty much a blur. We learned that a light rail line would be completed sometime. Construction started in 2001 and it’s still not completed. I can relate since I spent most of my childhood waiting for the completion of the “Big Dig” in Boston. Mahmoud also informed us his sister was getting married soon and he’s been busy planning and paying for the event. We were not sure if this would delay travel but at this point whatever.
We reached the hotel before just loosing my mind and doing a total travelers freak out. I’m not my pleasant self after 30+ hours without sleep and decent coffee. At least the sun hadn’t risen yet so it seemed like we were just getting in from the occasional night out on the town back home.
I slept well for a few hours but hunger drove me out of bed. The spread was amazing. We feasted on fresh lavash, fruit, cheese, soup and a liters of water and tea. I even managed to one more good cup of coffee before I switched to widely available tea. We wait around the courtyard hoping our man Mahmoud would come back. I sort of remember that he did mention returning around noon. We’re stuck inside without him – or so we thought. We were unsure if walking into the unfamiliar and beyond was wise at this point. We ended up testing the waters and took a short walk about. It was kind of like staying just playing in the yard and close to the house as kids. There was very little to see and so we ended up going back to bed for a few hours. I caved.
I woke up and it was still Saturday. I almost forget where I was. I was in Shiraz – Iran. My jet lag had worn off a bit and I was ready to see and do whatever was possible in what remained of the day. At least if it wasn’t possible then the hotel courtyard would have sufficed. It seemed our hotel is a Shiraz hotspot for locals. The hotel has a tea shop/shisha lounge which attracts young couples looking for a good date spot and mingle with out-of-towners like ourselves. I can’t imagine what this place would be like if alcohol was available.
The young guys here all sport gelled hair and have it styled the Rooster fashion – illegal I may add. They have nabbed one of the best jobs in town. They get paid to hang with friends, play Persian pop tunes until the early morning hours, smoke tons of Shesha, talk on their cell phones and occasionally get food and drink orders to guests. I and other guest at the hotel get served. It’s not all bad since we get the opportunity to mingle with the locals or in some cases be stared at by the locals.
After another meal, our guide Mahmoud showed up. I was off to shop for some acceptable local gear. The mall was typical except it had some moral police hanging out in the entrance way and only noticed them when we left. There was a little light left in the day so checked out some sites before the sun set. Shiraz street life on a Saturday night is something worth checking out. All the shops are in full swing as families are spending the last hours of the weekend together. It was the perfect introduction to Iran.
The club or hotel courtyard was in full swing. The benches were all occupied with groups getting intoxicated on hot tea and Shisha pipe hits, the speakers were busting out Persian Pop remixes and foil covered hot coals were being spun around for the next smoker. My head was spinning due to fatigue and over stimulation. It’s time to call it a day. All I need is a good pair of ear plugs and a somewhat comfy bed.