We have been here 6 days now and its strange, but when I stay in one place for a long time I always find it hard to think what I have done, what is there to write about. I think it because all the days seem to roll into one.
It been a relaxing 6 days, yet in a way tiring. Walking around a city seems hard work after the days on the bike and added to that it always seems hotter in the cities as there is no self generated breeze.
So what have we been doing? Thursday was a lazy day, late up and a very long breakfast that went on until midday, then a bit of sight seeing, followed by more social chat in the evening.
Friday was interesting. There was a large demonstation in Imam Square and being the 2nd largest square in the world that makes for a big demonstation. Andre and I couldnt resist it so went down to have a look as we knew what it was all about from the posters and banners we had seen. It was an anti American and Israeli protest and we were left in little doubt about that as the only part of a speach we could understand was `bad bad America, bad bad Israel, bad bad English`. Having said that we never felt under threat but the nearer we got to the front the more I felt that we were being stared at. Somebody stopped to ask us if we knew what it was about so we said no. As he tried to explain a large crowd of youngsters surrounded us and as we departed it became a bit of a problem until adults stopped them from following us. A teacher then latched on to us and explained that it occured on the last Friday of Ramadan from the last 30 years, so it didnt seem quite so bad, not a rally call for war, although there were young children wearing bandaners and military trousers, but other men were seen wearing New York baseball caps so a bit of a contradiction there.
Saturday we met up again with the teacher and he took us for a guided tour of the bazaar that was little more than a trip to all of his friends craft shops, but it was good to see tiles and bowls being painted by hand. There were also plenty of other craftsmen to look at but most were metal workers.
On Sunday Andre bet me a beer that other cyclists would turn up that day so I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss and I looked forward all day to my nice cold non alcoholic beer as neither of us had seen cyclists in weeks. Amazingly enough 2 Dutch cyclist turn up, Erik and Chet (that's not how you spell it but it sort of sounds similar) and having tasted the beer I was glad I lost the bet. So there are now five cyclists staying at the hostel, but we are all heading in the same direction so no news coming in from Pakistan and I guess it too late in the year now to expect that.
Yesterday was a bit of a wasted day, but chores had to be done. This one took the form of getting a visa extension and it took me ages to find the office as it has moved. Once I found the office it was constant frustration of queuing, going to the bank to pay in money, queuing again, then being sent to another office where my paperwork was taken and I was told to come back tomorrow. They wouldnt give me a receipt and with so many passports in the place I could see me losing it so I pestered them to give me a receipt and they finally agreed to do it whilst I wait. 3 hours later I had my extension and it is for a month. I only expected 2 weeks then a repeat performance else where, so now at least I dont have to suffer that again. In the evening we went down to see the old bridges which are floodlit and made for a nice gentle bike ride and a good de-stress from the passport office. We then had tea in a really posh hotel that has been converted from an old caravanseri, very relaxing.
Today has been catching up with more chores, a bit of bike maintenance, washing including hand washing, changing money, that sort of exciting thing. Later in the afternoon we went around the last few sights here, a couple of little palaces and a mosque (photo), all very good and made a good end to the stay in Esfahan.
Tomorrow we are off towards Yadz and all five of us are heading off together. I had a phone call the other night at the hostel, that came as a bit of a surprise, and we were invited to stay with a student who lives in a village about 95k along the route to Yadz. I think he may be a cyclist himself as he invites cyclists to stay with him and was only too happy to accommadate 5 of us.
Beyond Yadz we are all going in different directions and as yet I am undecided as to what I am going to do, but it looks as though my continuous cycle from home is about to come to an end as I am getting grief from certain people about my chosen route through Pakistan, but I will say more about that when I have finally made up my mind.