Jordan 4 – Wadi Rum

We spent one night in Wadi Rum in the desert in a tent. As part of the 4-wheeled drive tour, Fadi (our Jordanian guide) stopped at a sand dune, saying there would be a great view of the surrounding area from the top of the dune.  We started the climb (if you have ever tried to climb a tall sand dune, you know that it is a difficult task.  To advance two yards/meters up the hill, you fall back one).

On the way up, we encountered a bunch of friends trying to ski-board down the sand.  That looked like such an interesting scene that we stopped 2/3 of the way up the dune, and spent the rest of the time there.  I first attempted to set my video on slow-motion… then realized that was redundant. These people were having to hop and skip to move a couple of feet!  The sand was a lot more sticky than they expected. The top image shows one person on his board. This was an easy photograph, because he was there 5 seconds before he hopped a little to move another meter down the slope!

Fadi (our Jordanian guide) then climbed to the top and ran down (center-left) to give us some action shots to capture.  About as we were ready to move on, a family encouraged their young child to slide down the dunes.  Again, the little girl ended up stuck in the sand (bottom), and just scooted down a few inches at a time.

Heading towards the camp, we came across this abandoned boat (lower row) that seems so completely out of place that we asked to stop and photograph it too. No known history, other than the names of two brothers and phone numbers spray painted on the side.  Seems like a prop straight out of a Clive Cusler novel.

Our next stop was a small rock outcropping, that Fadi again said would give a good view of the panorama.

Yet another stop enroute to the camp was a slot canyon with ancient drawings on the walls.

As we reached camp, we climbed up above the Bedouin tents to photograph the sunset.   Fadi was waiting for us, while reading his email, giving a nice focus point to our sunset scene (upper-left).  We then got up the next morning at 4AM to head out to the desert for dawn images, also shown above.

The meal was one of the best we had in Jordan. It was called… “(my age is showing — I can’t remember the name…)”, where the pots and plates were buried in the sand, then cooked for two hours with charcoal.

Jordan 3 – Petra – Bomb Scare!

Petra is the crown jewel of ancient ruins in Jordan, and is the primary reason we chose to visit this country. Hidden for more than 2000 years, it is considered one of the seven Wonders of the World with more than 500 tombs and designated a World Heritage site in 1985.

Petra is reached through a long walk of 1.2 kilometers through the Siq, which is Arab for “trench.”  After walking the full length of this path, you reach what is commonly called “The Reveal.” This is the first moment when turning a corner finally shows you Al-Khazneh through the high slot canyon, as seen in the images above. It is a WOW moment.

Al-Khazneh is also known as The Treasury, and is easily the most popular tourist site in Petra. This is due to the combination of being one of the most impressive buildings, and being the first one a person reaches when making the long walk from the outside park gates. Many people have their photo taken in front of the Treasury. Burt is seen (middle-left) taking a photo of a family, at their request.

The actual original intent of Al-Khazneh is not really known, and is actually very small and unimpressive inside (see “bomb” below for more info).  It obtained the nickname of The Treasury because it was thought by the Bedouins to hide treasures, none of which have ever been found.

The Monastery is the furthest that most trekkers reach.  It is a long hike of a couple hours to reach the base of stairs, and then a grueling climb of 1100 uneven steps. We opted to hire donkeys to carry us, and Evelyn can be seen above as she navigates one steep downhill portion (yes, you climb, then descend, then climb still higher on this arduous route).

You may also note that Evelyn is wearing a winter jacket. This is normally the start of summer, and is typically hot.  We were blessed with unseasonably cold weather, with the locals exclaiming they had never seen it so cold in April.  To us, that made the climbs (both on foot and on donkey) a far more pleasant esperience.

Our donkey ride to the Monastery brought us past many rocks with peculiar shapes that were easy to imagine being animals. The image top-left looks like a fish as you pass it, only to turn into an elephant when you are past it (shown above).  As you keep going, at about the halfway mark, you come across the Royal Tombs (upper-center and upper-right), a massive set of tombs for the royal family over the centuries, high off the valley floor.

Finally, after what seems like days of arduous travel (but is actually about 3 hours where the donkey is doing the hardest work), we open up to the Monastery (center and lower row).  This is the farthest that most visitors go, though Petra actually continues for many more miles.

Camels were everywhere to rent for very short rides, walking around the grounds in front of the Treasury.  Most people who got off exclaimed at how wonderful it was, having never ridden a camel before.  (Because we rode camels for 5 days across the desert of India in 1995, we are far less enthused about the chance to climb on one again…)

Horses were also abundant, mostly pulling carriages.  In fact, we chose to use such transportation on our third and last trek through the Siq, to see the “Petra by Night” show (below).

Unfortunately, we found the Petra by Night show to be a rather large disappointment. It is supposed to show the region illuminated by candlelight.  However, they had sold so many tickets, and placed a person by every candle, so that no candles could even be seen (upper).  One man then rose to sing a Bedouin song (center), but it was so dark that it was nearly half an hour before we realized there was a live singer, rather than the music being just a recording.

Then…. Bang!

Bomb!

was the shout that went out.

People panicked, probably with thoughts of last week’s Sri Lanka terrorism attacks.  Some went up the canyon towards the Monastery. Others jumped onto the platform and went inside the Treasury.

I first thought it was part of the show, but later decided it was just a false alarm (what terrorism attack would have a single bang far from the crowd, and nothing further, including no police shouting??).  Therefore, I extended my tripod, and started to get the photos that I had initially envisioned, with a sea of candles lighting the Treasury (bottom).  Evelyn thought I was nuts… but that was not exactly the first time she thought that…

I realized that the police were too busy trying to calm the crowd and get them back to their seats. They would never have time to stop me from entering the Treasury (off limits to tourists).  I therefore sauntered inside the crypt and was surprised at how small and plain it was (center-left).  After about 10 minutes, the police arrived to clear out the Treasury, including my camera and tripod.

Just as Social Media spreads false rumors instantly, so did several explanations of what had been heard. First, I was told by a breathless woman “a drunk policeman fired his gun into the air!”  About a minute later, another exclaimed with authority “I heard it was a drunk Bedouin that got into a fight with a policeman!”  Our tour group organizer said she was told that another tour group (not hers!) had tried to set off fireworks and it had not worked, just blowing up instead.

We walked out of the canyon with two park rangers. We were last out of the canyon because I was taking advantage of the panic to get photographs, and the guards were fairly cooperative about it.  They said that the recent rains had simply loosened a rock, which had fallen into the canyon off the cliff above. They said this happens all the time, but that usually not at such a poor time, nor does it usually cause such panic.

Personally, I think I believe the park rangers.  Partly because “they should know” and partly because it has the least drama, and “the simplest solution is usually the correct one” is an axiom I have long subscribed to…

Jordan 2 – Jerash

The ruined city of Jerash is one of the largest and most interesting Roman sites. You enter through an imposing ceremonial gate, go past colonnaded streets, enter a hippodrome (horse racing track), walk around temples, and can easily spend half a day there. Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Artemis, the Forum, and the Temple of Zeus, were all breath taking in the golden hours.

We visited several cities of the Decapolis in Jerash today, and we spent sunset at Umm Qais, a town in northern Jordan that houses the Greek ruin Gadara,  (lower row, where two groups of men were singing chants to each other) overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Unfortunately, the skies were cloudy and the distance hazy, so we did most of our photography on the plateau, ignoring the sprawling view of the valley below.

At one point, a young boy climbed to the top of one of the pillars (top-left) as his mother looked on (top-right).  I quickly moved into place to capture the SuperMan against the storm clouds.  He clambered down and wanted to see my camera LCD.  Soon all his friends were climbing other columns, calling for me to photograph them too.  After nearly a dozen individual photos, I backed up and captured the scene with three boys (of course…!) on columns while their families watched. (center-right).

Gadera had numerous arches that intrigued us.

As the sun began to set, the many remaining columns of these ruined temple were stunning. These remaining structures are more than 2000 years old. Many were destroyed by earthquakes and then partially dismantled by later Byzantine and Umayyad building projects.

Evelyn enjoyed capturing the sunset photos of the small stadium, which was enhanced with dramatic clouds. Many families came here to enjoy the sunset. A local teenage girl had a chance to practice her English with Evelyn. At one point, when Evelyn told her she had to wait 10 minutes for the colors of the sky to turn vivid, she professed to be too impatient to wait that long, and then left tp rejoin her friends.

Meanwhile, Burt wandered among the columns and the plateau where most locals had gone to watch the sunset (upper). It was quite a scene with kids getting horseback rides, while other kids were climbing the ruins.   The clouds all came up within the last hour or so before sunset, helping to add drama to the scene. By the blue hour, the place had emptied out.

Jordan 1 – Amman

Amman is the capital of Jordan, and has been continuously occupied since 6,000 BC. It is the starting point for our two weeks tour organized through On The Go tours (OTG), that will cover Jordan, Israel and then Egypt.  As we stepped off the plane from Tehran to Amman, we were greeted by the OTG rep before immigration, and he walked us through the entire Immigration and Customs process, and had us in our hired transportation in record time.  One thing we discovered through these countries is that the OTG company reps are exceptional in their service at every step of the way, and always exceeded our expectations.  More on this later.

Guess how big that hand in the upper image above is?  Seems massive in that image, doesn’t it.  The hand actually is large, but only about 2 feet (0.6 meter) from finger to wrist. This last remaining remnant of Hercule’s Hand at Citadel, in the Temple of Hercules, is an excellent example of why we often include people in our photographs of monuments.  The people help to provide a sense of scale.

We missed sunrise on our first day in Amman, because the government turned down the OTG application to give us access to the Citadel, before it normally opened at 8:00 AM, well after sunrise.  Instead we saw the Roman Theater landmark, which is nearly intact. Unfortunately, we just missed the dawn light as we roamed around searching for an alternative location.

Later that evening, our driver drove around some hillside roads, looking for a good site for us to capture the sunset, after finding that the King Abdullah Mosque had unexpectedly closed before sunset.  We ended up in the location shown above — where we also happened do discover two wild camels grazing, which provided a nice foreground for the city.

During the day, we walked around the old city, which was hilly with narrow walking paths, and filled with vendors of all sorts. The local herbs and spices market in Amman caught our eye. This was our first real chance to interact with Jordanians, whom we found friendly and willing to pose for us.  The man center-right is grinding a spice, and invited me to come in closer and see the machine in action (this was a photograph by Evelyn, and you can see me photographing the internal workings of the grinder behind him).

Enroute to Jerash, we visited Mt Nebo, a Christian religious site as it is where Moses is said to have first seen the Promised Land, which God told him he would never enter. Madaba is the site of a church that supposedly has the oldest known map of the world still in existence, as tiles on the floor (lower row), as well as where most of the Christians in Jordan occupy. We had our favorite schwarma sandwich and fries from a hole-in-the-wall store in Madaba.

We also made a side stop at a mosaics factory, where we watched how they make highly detailed mosaic designs on pots and plaques.  The work is of exceptional quality, but our suitcases are already loaded beyond capacity, so we had to be content to only watch the skilled workers.

Iran 8 – Kashan – the last stop

Iranian Local: I love you! (while making heart with his hands)

Me: I love you too (chuckling, then asking if I can take a photo — he warmly agreed, and he and his friends posed for the next several minutes for us)

After some more discussion, it turned out that this man was actually Afghan. Though born in Iran, he moved to Afghanistan with his father when he was a teenager.  He was back in Iran visiting his cousin, whom he then introduced to me, though the cousin did not speak any English.

He then declared “I have a lot of American friends!”  Since he lives in Afghanistan, I asked “Are they all soldiers?” to which he replied “Yes! Very nice people!” Surprisingly, this was the second Afghan man we met in Iran, both of whom opened with “I love you!” and both of which were highly impressed with Americans.  Once again, not the response I had expected…

The Persian language used in Iran is graphically very flowing and pleasing to the eye.  Surprisingly, there were many Persian signs that also included the English equivalent, and thus were easy to understand, as shown above.

Others were less clear.  Upper-left here is on one of the charity boxes that are spread through every town.  The red sign upper-right reads “restroom.”  The middle-left is a sign over a “Zolanvari Carpet” store while the middle-right is a “Shiraz handicraft” store and the lower-right declares a “Parnian bag” store.

This quote is from the Iranian leader about Hijab: The Iranian women Hijab is not an obstacle, they are active in social and scientific activities as well as in their personal life. Such “words of wisdom” from the Supreme Leader are spread throughout all the cities.

You have probably noticed a common theme in these blog entries on Iran. The people are warm, friendly, almost always smiling, and appear genuinely glad to meet Americans — usually their “first Americans.”  In two weeks, we occasionally met someone who was camera shy, but nobody ever waved us off with any sign of anger.  Most of the time, they were glad to have us take their photograph, and often laughed when we showed them the result on the camera LCD.

We almost never photograph young children unless their parents are nearby. In every case we did so, the parents would encourage their children to say hello to us (sometimes the only English they appeared to know), and to smile. The parents then always thanked us for taking photographs of their children, even if they could only say it in Iranian and body language.

The group in the lower-right here shows the Afghan man in the center who told me that he loved me at the start of this post.

We started photographing hands somewhere along this tour, finding them interesting and a way to sometimes get a shy person to open up for portraits.

I would like to close Iran by noting again that it was Mehmet Özbalci of Fantastic Photo Tours who arranged this, and convinced us to join him on this Iran adventure.  It will definitely remain in our memories as one of the most enjoyable two week tours we have taken.  If you ever have the chance, please make an effort to come here yourself.  If you do, then we both strongly recommend Mehmet as your guide to this culture, as well as many others. (We have already arranged to join Mehmet for Myanmar next year — stay tuned for details!)

Iran 7 – Kashan (the real story)

Happy mistake when the camera was moved while shutter still open.

Iranian Local: (after opening pleasantries and surprised that I am an American.) My English is good because I studied hard, expecting to go overseas to study.

Me: You did not go?

IL: No. We discovered we could not afford it after the collapse of the Rial (the local currency).

So what is the real story of the impact of the continued American sanctions?  I cannot speak for any government plans to create a nuclear bomb, as I have no direct knowledge.

From our experience though, I can say that the government does not appear to be hurting in any obvious way.  There also does not appear to be any desire to overthrow the current government.  Thus, from all appearances, the sanctions has completely and absolutely failed in its stated goals.

On the other hand, the local people have been hurt in ways that no American can begin to comprehend. Their life savings have completely disappeared. As a direct result of the American sanctions, the Iranian currency has collapsed. In 1979, the Iranian Rial was on par with the US Dollar. That is, 1 IRR = 1 USD.  Today, 1 US Dollar equals 135,000 Iranian Rial. So, if that happened in America, and you had $1 Million in 1979, you would have $7.40 today.  Think about that a moment…

Some of that can be blamed on the religious revolution of 1979.  However, the Rial collapsed another 66% in May 2018, within one month of Trump’s withdrawing from the Iranian treaty and his desire to start a war.  In the US in the 1980’s inflation reached 13.5% and American savings were being wiped out. Imagine if that inflation were 300% instead, and created by a single external country intentionally?

Despite that, we never once met an Iranian who blamed Americans for their problems. They did blame the American government — along with their own. They never held any animosity towards us as American people though, and in fact, welcomed us openly.  They also appear to be almost universally smiling and happy as they walk around town or play tourist in their own country at the same monuments we visited. We felt safe the entire time we have been here.

I am pretty sure Americans would not be as welcoming to foreign tourists if the tables were turned…

We went again to the Naqshe Cehan Square for the morning blue hour (in other words, another day rising well before dawn!

The photograph at the bottom is actually from the hotel we stayed at in Kashan — a centuries old home of a wealthy family converted into hotel.  It had twists and turns, and half a dozen fountains like this one shown.  Stairs were steep and frequent, and this was clearly not a place for an elderly or mobility-impaired person to stay.

We also visited another bath house, mosque and garden, continuing to collect images of unique and beautiful architecture.

In the afternoon, we drove to Qom to photograph the holy shrine dedicated to Lady Masoumeh Fatima. This is considered one of the most holy shrines in Iran.  Photography is normally not allowed in this shrine at all, after the this site was bombed recently.  However, our guides negotiated to allow us to use our cell phone cameras (though not SLRs).  This was considered a major concession, since even the local Iranians are not allowed to take photographs of any type.

Iranian Mullah (upper-left): You are the best ambassadors to Iran. We hope you will take photographs, tell stories, and explain to the world that we are peaceful and not like what the Western newspapers say.

And that pretty much sums up the attitude we found everywhere we went in Iran.

Iran 6 – Isfahan

Iranian Local: Are you married?

Me: Yes.

IL: Where is your wife?

Me: Over there (I pointed to Evelyn on the next rooftop, shooting a different set of images from where I was pointing)

IL: So, you are divorced?

Me: No. We have been married 46 years.

IL: Then why is she not here at your side? (discussion continued about no need for two cameras shooting the same scene, etc. He could not understand how a wife would not always be at the husband’s side.)

This was one of many conversations that opened up the different ways of looking at the world between the Iranians and ourselves.  Many (but definitely not all) Iranians we met assume that the wife should always be at the husband’s side if outside the home. We have a much more “both are equal and independent” view, but neither is necessarily more “correct” than the other. It does drive home how much our views of the world and society are primarily a reflection of our own neighbors and friends.

Yes, we got up twice before dawn for these photos above in Isfahan, the third largest city in Iran… Once for the Sio So Poi Bridge (upper-left and lower-right), and a second day for the Naqshe Cehan Square. Mehmet takes us to places to take the best photographs — sleeping and eating are totally secondary on these trips!

At Meybod, we photographed the old castle, and the fascinating pigeon tower (center, lower-left and lower-center). This was a tower originally filled with pigeon food to encourage over 4000 pigeons to roost.  Their waste was then collected daily and used for fertilizer in the surrounding fields.

Mosques are everywhere, and all are colorful and full of interesting patterns.  The one in the middle image above was being repaired, which was fairly common throughout the country (actually throughout the region, as we also saw that in other countries too).

We were served lunch by a local Iranian family in their home. Afterwards, they demonstrated how the man of the family uses his loom to make kilim, a flat woven rug, while the elderly woman who owns the house showed her skill at weaving carpets. The loom is located in a cave, where the temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year, and throughout the day, acting much like a wine cellar in that regards.

We had some free time to wander around Naqshe Cehan Square, where we were able to photograph Iranians enjoying their day off, walking or sitting around the large center fountain, or riding a horse carriage around the park.

As we leave Isfahan, here are a few random images of the people we met, and sometimes talked to.  Smiles always greeted us, never a wave-off for our cameras.

Iran 5 – Yazd

Iranian Local: Where are you from?

Me: America

IL: I told my sister your accent sounded like an American!  I have never met an American before.

Me: Then how did you recognize my accent.

IL: I watch a lot of American TV. (Discussion continued about her being an electrical engineer for a city power company. She installed a VPN, so can access YouTube and watches American TV shows over internet, despite government trying to stop most internet access.)

Me: (noticing that she did not cover her hair in my presence) Are you Muslim?

IL: No, but I have to pretend to be. If you are not Muslim, you are not allowed to work for the government (the power company she works for is government owned).

Me: May I ask what religion you follow?

IL: If there were a god, there would be no Middle East. There would be no Ayatollah. There would be no Trump…

We spent two evenings in Yazd, which is also known as the city of wind catchers.

We rose well before dawn to drive to the Amir Chakhmag Complex to photograph the images shown above. Saba and Mehmet worked out a deal with the owner of a coffee shop/gallery to use their roof top at 4:00 AM to photograph the “blue hour” before the fountains were turned on, which would have destroyed the reflection.

We stopped along the way to photograph the Tomb of Persian King Cyrus (top left) and later another ancient village constructed from adobe with wind catchers.

We also stopped at the Towers of Silence and the remains of the ancient Zoroastrian burial site.

We photographed the Dowlatabad Garden, which had more beautiful stained glass windows.

We had dinner at a small rooftop cafe, where we photographed the Yazd skyline at sunset.  This is where I had the conversation with the woman summarized at the top of this post. We talked for over an hour, while I periodically turned to click the camera shutter, then continued the conversation.

Our Iranian guide was quite proud to state that Iran has religious freedom, because 2% of the population is not Muslim.  I suspected from the moment that she made that statement that it was probably not really true.  This woman was the only Iranian to openly state this, but I had the definite feeling from other conversations that a larger number of people only pretend to be Muslim in order to survive in the current society. This is probably the hardest idea that is foreign to my beliefs for me to accept.  I do hold a strongly held belief that the government should have zero relationship to religion, be it Muslim, Christian or Hindu.

Yazd has a peculiar architectural structure that I have never seen before — a “wind catcher.”  This is an Iranian developed structure that provides natural ventilation to the home in hot climates.  The tall columned structures above (bottom image) catch the wind, regardless of the direction it blows from. The wind is directed down through internal shafts, where it blows over a pool of water, and then through the home.  This provides a natural air conditioning, developed centuries before the electrical air conditioners mostly used today.

We had a chance to wander through the bazaar today (top two rows), where copper items for the home are in abundance (middle).  As always, we also like to watch people (lower row), and saw one group of friends peddling around in a foot-powered four wheel cart while laughing and having a blast (lower-left).

Finally, as evening approached, we attended a traditional local workout session at a wrestling gym. Two dozen men spent an hour in rigorous exercises, to the music of a drummer who also chanted (middle-right). Towards the end, after an exhausting hour, they picked up massive weights (middle-left and lower-right) and tossed them like they were pillows.  (I tried to lift one, and with both hands, could barely manage it!)

Iran 4 – Shiraz Two

Iranian Local: What do you do? (he meant as a job)

Me: I am retired.

IL: Are you unemployed?  I am sorry to hear this.

Me: No, retired. I worked for 45 years, and can now enjoy my life without having to work any longer.

IL: But you are not old enough to retire! (discussion continued, where he guessed I was 50.  When I told him I was 69, he said that was the age of his grandfather, who could barely walk at his age.)

A major stop late in the afternoon in Shiraz was to Persepolis,  a UNESCO site dating back to 500BC.  This was the capital of the Achaemenid empire for more than 200 years. The parks generally open after sunrise and close before sunset, so it’s always a dilemma for photographers.

Probably the most fascinating part of Persepolis are the numerous bas relief images still in excellent shape, depicting life during the reign of the builders of this city.

It took quite a lot of negotiating by both our guides to get us into the Holy Shrine of Shah Ceragh.  This was described to us the Iranian version of Mecca, and is considered one of the most holy mosques in the country. (Read the linked Wikipedia site for the lengthy explanation of why.)

Though initial negotiations included getting a license to bring our cameras onto the site, that was rejected upon arrival. (In other words, just as in Ecuador, anything can change at any time…) Further discussions between Saba (our Iranian guide) and the religious leaders resulting in our being able to use cell phones, but no other cameras.  This was actually a major concession, as the Iranian people themselves are not allowed to photograph inside the walls of the shrine at all.

The last nomadic tribe of Iran is called the Qashgal. We had a chance to visit with them this afternoon and join them for lunch. We watched as they made carpets on their loom (middle-left), made bread for lunch (middle), demonstrated how to make doogh (a thirst-quenching yogurt drink spiced with mint), stoked coals for a hookah (lower-right) and then smoked it (upper-right).

We all sat on the floor of the nomadic tent, first sharing tea and eating our lunch. A local tribesman then arrived to play his instrument for us (lower-middle and lower-right).

Upper-left is Saba, our Iranian guide.  Below her, in the lower-left is Mehmet, the tour organizer and guide (and the man we followed in Turkey, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka and several other countries). Gabriel, Michel and Tim (upper right) are all ready for lunch. As typical of Iranian meals, by the time we finish with appetizers, we’re generally too full, but continue to overeat out of politeness to our hosts.

Iran 3 – Shiraz One

Iranian Local: Are you Alemany?

Me: (think for a bit, and realize he is asking if I am German) No, American.

IL: Really? Not Alemany? How did you get here?

Me: I flew from New York.

IL: Welcome to Iran! (discussion continued about the beauty of Iran and where we have visited so far, and what I thought of the country)

One of our first stops in Shiraz was at the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, most commonly known as “the Pink Mosque” and is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in Iran.  One room is intended for praying and meditation, and has a complete wall of stained glass.  Early in the morning, the sun shines through the glass, turning it into a stunning kaleidoscope of color. Many tourists stop to take selfies when the color lands on their faces.

We stopped by the side of a road in a village to photograph a no name castle. Saba, our Iranian guide, helped provide some color and scale in the upper-left image.

In the afternoon, we visited the Zinat of Molk, which included a mirrored room and another room with a stained glass wall facing the morning sun.

The Vikil Mosque in the same area provided the fluted columns for a series of images (right column), including another modeling session with Saba (center-right).  We then walked to the Vikil Bath, another renovated Bath House complete with mannequins showing life in the 18th Century.

We finished this area by spending some time at the Vakil Bazaar after lunch. This is a bazaar where locals actively go, and we find our group as one of the few tourists.

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The most recent galleries include our recent trips to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Iran, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. You can see all our favorite images from our 2019 travel here:

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