On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

As we move closer to the new site launch, I wanted to remind you to submit things now via the form or to hold off until the new site is live.  The old email address is dead and until the new site is live, there’s no replacement for now. I hope to change that later today.

Ok, it looks like my concern about the new site launching very soon is a bit off, sounds like it will be a week or more, not days. I’ve got a bunch of submissions, mostly multiple sets from a few folks. Please do continue to submit pictures, but don’t feel like it must be now.

Have a wonderful day, enjoy the pictures!

As it’s the  beginning of the month – “rabbit, rabbit” for good luck.

I’m excited to see today’s pictures from Iran. I recently found a few of my mother’s pictures from a trip she took there in 1969. It impressed her greatly, and she loved many things Persian from then on.


Today, pictures from valued commenter arrieve.

With Iran so much in the news these days, I thought sharing some of the many pictures I took there in 2015 would be of interest.

Our two-week trip started in Tehran. We then flew to Kerman, which is in the southeast near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. We drove from there, tracing the old Silk Road across the desert to Yazd, then heading north to Shiraz and Isfahan. I don’t pretend that two weeks makes me any kind of expert, but I did get to meet and talk with many Iranians, who were without exception, warm and friendly and eager to practice their English with Americans. And I learned a lot about Iranian culture, and the very deep national pride in their more than 2500 years of history.

Taken on April 2015


I’ll go back to the beginning of the trip in Tehran in part 2, but I want to start with two tombs that highlight Iranian history and culture.

This is the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae. It stands at the end of a road lined with stalls selling postcards and souvenirs, but apart from a few other small ruins nearby — some broken columns, an ancient fortress — there’s nothing else for miles in any direction except fields of wheat, rolling hills and a few nomadic sheepherders.

The city of Pasargadae was still unfinished when Cyrus died in battle in 529 B.C. His son Cambyses moved the capitol to Susa, and Cambyses’s successor Darius created Persepolis. So it’s been effectively abandoned for millennia, but Cyrus’s tomb somehow remained intact. Even Alexander, who looted and burned Persepolis, left this tomb alone out of respect for Cyrus.

Taken on April 2015


This is the tomb of the Sufi poet Hafez in Shiraz. Iranians say that every home has two books — the Koran, and the poems of Hafez. Our tour leader could recite dozens of poems by heart, and before visiting the tomb, we sat under the trees in the surrounding gardens and ate Shirazi faloodeh — a dessert of frozen noodles doused in rose water and lime juice — and listened to her recite poems in Farsi.

Taken on April 2015


Like all the Sufi poets, Hafez’s poems are full of the ecstasy of love, nature, and wine, so it’s a little surprising to see how revered he is in a country where alcohol is banned. But what was more shocking to an American was the size of the crowds visiting his tomb — busload after busload of people arriving while we were there. It felt like Disneyland on a weekend, and all of these people were coming to visit a tomb! Of a poet! Who died in the 14th century! It’s impossible to imagine Americans having this kind of devotion to a poet, or any artist.

Taken on April 2015


On the other hand, these girls — who got as far away from their families as possible and focused on looking unimpressed and checking their phones — seemed all too familiar.

Taken on April 2015


Even the souvenirs for sale are poetry-oriented. For a small fee, these parakeets will select a random verse of Hafez just for you.


Thank you so much arrieve, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form

14 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    This is fascinating. Today’s Washington Post has an article about the damage the latest sanctions are doing to ordinary people of Iran.

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    Fascinating. Love the peevish teens with their phones. The flowers all around the poet’s tomb are beautiful.

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    For a small fee, these parakeets will select a random verse of Hafez just for you.

    Heh, got my smile for the day.

  4. 4
    Citizen_X says:

    The Tomb of Cyrus! In a seismically active area, it is the world’s oldest base-isolated (making it earthquake-resistant) building.

  5. 5
    Betty says:

    The Hafez tomb looks so peaceful.

  6. 6
    stinger says:

    Thank you for the photos and the commentary, arrieve.

  7. 7
    arrieve says:

    @JPL: The sanctions have been very rough on your average Iranian. The first Iranian I talked to, the woman who arranged my taxi to the hotel, used to have a job with KLM Airlines. She was able to go to Europe a few times a year. Now she’s stuck in Iran with a part-time job. I was there just after Obama had announced the agreement that would lift the sanctions, and there was a lot of optimism. I’m sure it’s very different now.

  8. 8
    Steeplejack says:


    I saw something yesterday that made me think of you. You live on Dominica, right? Are things back to normal after the hurricane? I know it has been a long time, but Puerto Rico is still having problems.

  9. 9
    eclare says:

    Beautiful photos and fascinating commentary. I would love to have a parakeet pick out some poetry for me.

  10. 10
    J R in WV says:

    Poetry reciting songbirds, what a great racket!!

    When in NYC we met a lot of folks from Iran — without exception they all called themselves Persians. Perhaps if the nation changed back to that name all the rancor would dwindle. They were all great folks!

    Citizen X — fascinating about the base-isolated tomb!!! What a detail to know… thanks!

  11. 11
    rikyrah says:

    Beautiful pictures

  12. 12
    No One You Know says:

    Backyard birdwatchers and others may enjoy a Google Play app called BIRDNET. It’s by Cornell’s ornithology lab. Still beta, I think, but I’m getting such a charge from it!

    Open it and it immediately starts recording sounds. Stop the recording, click “Analyze,” and any recognized bird calls are listed below with a picture, the English name, and the Latin name of the bird.

    For grins, there’s a slightly snarky entry for when the only thing detected is you.

    That annoyingly repetitive call with the long buzz at the end turned out to be a Spotted Towhee.

  13. 13
    Pavlov'sMan says:

    Hafez, like Rumi and Attar, walked the way of the Sufis. Their “ecstasy” is the drunkenness and intoxication caused by love of God, which is their “wine”.

    PS: Long time lurker, first time commenter. Hiya, all.

  14. 14
    Another Scott says:

    @Pavlov’sMan: Thanks for the clarification!

    Post more often. :-)


Comments are closed.