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Old 05-29-2009, 02:42 AM   #81
Boarder06 OP
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Cambridge, MA
Oddometer: 238
Hamadan

In the morning I just donít feel like leaving and I donít. Thatís the beauty of traveling solo. After breakfast I set out to visit the townís sights.
First stop is the 14th century mausoleum of Esther and Mordecai, Iranís most important Jewish pilgrimage site. Itís looks a bit misplaced in the middle of a modern city.

The friendly rabbi greets me outside and after telling me to take my boots off leads me inside through the 400kg, well greased, stone slab door.

There are indeed two coffins inside


and a small meeting place. The rabbi gives the grand tour in a mix of Yiddish, English, French, and German, which reminds me of a colleague of mine from Berkeley who always talks and corresponds in the same language mix. So the guy makes me smile and we chat for a while. I learn that the Jewish community in Hamadan has 15 members from 10 families. I wonder what life is like for these people in an Islamic republic. After some more tourist show up I say goodbye and leave after giving a small donation.
I wander through town past stores


and spend some time on the central city square, basically a huge roundabout with a park in the middle, which has a very ugly relief of Khomeini and some scenes from the Iran-Iraq war.


I sit down and watch people for a while. The old guys meet and chat, the young people walk by busily and I see the ultimate Yuppie macho guy in an ill fitting suit. He wears a fancy Bluetooth ear piece, acting all important, and lets his wife carry the phone behind him. I have a look at a cop cruiser

and walk across town, past a shop window full of fake bavarian non-alcoholic beer

and some strange signs (any Farsi speakers here?)

to the mausoleum of Persian poet, physician and philosopher BuAli Sina, known in the west as Avicenna. He died in 1037 but the impossibly ugly mausoleum is from the 50s. Not a decade known for architectural highlights. The best thing that can be said about this place is that there is a lively park next to it.

I walk back to the hotel and take a nap. I wake up by some loud noise which turns out to be a pretty bad hail storm.

Yep, it pays to listen to your inner voice telling you not to get on the bike today.
P.S.: Who says kitsch and energy conservation canít mix? Clearly the hotel owners have found a way.
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