First thoughts on Shiraz

This is going to be a fantastic time.

Food will, of course, all be excellent. We started today with calepuche, a soup of lamb’s tongue and offal. Doesn’t sound like it could be, but it was a favorite of ours even as kids. This was supposedly the best in the city (and definitely the best I’ve had). Lunch was at a buffet with literally hundreds of different dishes from which to choose. I was surprised to see a Trip Advisor recommended sticker on the door! The highlights there were watching the baker cook sangak bread in a clay oven atop tiny hot stones and my first taste of a dish made of olives covered in a paste of pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts with torshi spices. Dinner was homemade khorest e bademjan, eggplant stew with tender baby goat meat, and an assortment of pickled veggies with rice and tahdeeg.

The weather is beautiful, the jetlag is real, the people are as lovely and welcoming as expected. Passport control was surprisingly uneventful once we got over a little language-based misunderstanding. I was pleased to see that the line for non-Iranian tourist entry was almost as long as the Iranian passport-holders line, mostly made up of one German and one Italian tour group.

Norah is a hit. I keep over hearing exclamations about her hair being like gold, plenty of people are pinching her cheeks, trying to give her candy, and blessing her. She’s eating it up. She has had a couple of cultural misunderstandings herself, one of which she blamed on the other party not being ‘real and speaking real like me.’ Our ideas about what is real are expanding every day. She asked my dad tonight, ‘Baba, why do Iranian people always yell?’ and was pleased to learn that they aren’t all angry.

This place is busy, loud, dusty, beautiful, and delicious. I hope this is the first trip of many.

No time now but I don’t want to forget about the recycling scouts, the ‘old bread for salt’ man and the cow trucks.

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