After a bit of a lay in we changed some more money at our hotel and then went for a walk. I had to wear my Manteau (loose coat) and a Roosari (Scarf) which proved problematic in the wind. We found a bakery where we purchased a couple of donut like things and some biscuits….they were really yummy! We then walked to the Bazaar….it is huge. The undercover Bazaar buildings are from the 15th Century and in the centre is an open park with rooms all around the courtyard as this is where the merchants and camel trains would come and get watered and spend the night.
We stopped at the edge of the Bazaar and bought some fruit to eat and the shopkeeper was very welcoming. A man approached us who spoke excellent English…Ali…he was an ex school teacher and eager to share his knowledge of “Tabriz is Paradise”! He told us that the shops behind our hotel used to be wine shops….”before the revolution 36 years ago”. He gave us a recommendation for a carpet shop with instructions to walk along, then turn left and walk until you see the pineapples, turn right and walk for 1 or 2 minutes and then look up to the left! Which we did quite incredibly. He also suggest if we had time to visit Kandovan…..Iran’s answer to Cappadocia.
The Bazzar was amazing…….it was truly authentic…with many locals shopping for produce, homewares, clothing, fabric etc…..It was a feast for the eyes. Many people (all men) stopped and spoke with Vince and welcomed him……I simply did not exist. Even when Vince would refer to me and I spoke it was simply ignored…..a very strange experience.
A man called Hahib, who owned a carpet shop, managed to befriend Vince and convince him to come for a look in his shop. We were of course sat down, given drinks and shown the authenticity of his hand made silk rugs and a variety of table runners…..prices started at US$50 for a small table mat….that we didn’t want….but we were able to get out of there with everyone saving face and us still in possession of all our money…..with what will now be forever know at the Partridge Flimflam ….what a team!
Now with two spare tyres to carry on the ANIMAL we have been looking for bunge cords instead of the rope we are currently using. We managed to find some but the first shop tried to charge me 500 000 Rial (A$25) for one but luckily I realise this was way too much….so I said no. We found another shop and bought two for 20 000 Rial (A$1).
Vince spotted a local food grotto underneath the stairs…..we decided to “give it a crack”. The food was tasty and cheap but I seemed very out of place with only men around….my husband seems to have a knack of taking me places where I’m the only woman…..Hmmmmm???? Hope we are not upsetting anyone….but so far so good!
A family who were shopping stopped Vince and asked if they could be photographed with us….he said yes so I complied…..but it made me feel a bit like a freak show….I guess they don’t see many Westerners. Our attempts to blend in have failed miserably and we are pretty much the main attraction…..all eyes are on us….and many people openly approach us to interact and welcome us. We seem to be something of a curiosity here in Tabriz, but people are friendly, polite and nice.