yazd, or it’s fun to climb a desert mountain in the midday sun wearing hejab

Yazd. On the edge of the Dasht-e Kavir (Great Salt) Desert, which stretches all the way to Afghanistan, it’s hot and much of the city seems to be brown from baking in the sun. In a good way – the old city is famed for its labyrinthine laneways, mud houses and skyline of domes and badgirs, unique windtower contraptions designed to catch the breeze and funnel it into the buildings below.
Vastly more conservative than youthful, cosmopolitan Shiraz, my thigh-length manteau stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of chadors on the main street which, ordinarily bustling, resembled a ghost town for most of the afternoon as things shut down for midday prayers, a long lunch and an even longer siesta. Suited us fine, as we got to retire to the hotel, housed in a restored traditional home, to loll about on daybeds in the leafy courtyard, sipping tea and nibbling sweets.
Yazd is also home to Iran’s largest population of Zoroastrians. Our interest in this ancient religion was piqued in Bombay, which is dotted with Parsi temples and Irani cafes; indeed, it was over a few beers in one of these cafes that we decided to visit Iran.* This interest culminated in a hike up a lonely desert mountain to view the Towers of Silence where bodies of the deceased were placed for vultures to pick the bones clean. This practice having ceased in the 60s, the site’s main visitors now appear to be teenage boys hooning around on motorbikes and stupid foreigners scrambling up the hillside. If you look closely at these photos, you can see me conveying to Linds exactly what I thought of having to clamber across rubble or, more specifically, him cheerfully snapping photos of me clambering across said rubble.
* The irony of this situation is not lost on us. 

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One Response to “yazd, or it’s fun to climb a desert mountain in the midday sun wearing hejab”

  1. bubba Says:

    Don’t get me started on Zoroastrians!
    I lived with one for 2 years as an undergrad.
    He had some of his relatives in the city too.
    Darius spoke Parsi and wore the undergarments too.
    I have donned the hijab at home myself.
    Although we don’t have the heat, we surely have the humidity.

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