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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Desert sunsets...Two Weeks in Iran

Would we like to go into the desert and watch the sunset?
Would we???
Oh yes.
we jumped at it.

Just outside of Yazd city we drove out on to the deserted desert roads.

Down some pretty scary tracks.
On the way we noticed the occasional  four wheel drive vehicle heading the same way.

We had heard it was on the tourist agenda, so assumed it to be for tourists.

Sliding down a steep dune, we arrived at the oasis.
We stood for a moment. 
No one spoke.
It was stunning.
And peaceful.

That was not to last.

There were about 12 four wheel drives in a line.

No tourists though.
Just one man at the wheel of each.
There were motor bikes too.

Before I could ask why, a couple of the cars set off at manic speed up the hills.

There were families that, like us, had come to see the oasis and the sunset.
Many ran screaming up the sand dunes.

We heard that people had been killed by the thrill seekers, as they are known.
Not intentionally.

But they roar up the dunes and when they tip over the top, there have been families having picnics on the other side.
The men cannot see them until they go over the top.

By then it's too late.

Hearing all this made us nervous.

We kept as far away from the vehicles as possible.

The sunset when it came was beautiful.

Leaving, we kept looking back over our shoulders.
It was beautiful.
We headed off to a meeting point where we were to link up with others from the family.

Still hot....
welcome ice creams were bought at a garage in the middle of no where.

All seems like a long time ago now...
Back to work
Here's the warehouse

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Two Weeks in Iran....The Wedding & Back to Work

Weddings in Iran are huge, dressy, noisy, dramatic affairs.

We in the west, generally speaking, imagine a more sedate event, would you say?

If I hadn't been to one I probably would envisage women in chador or manteau and scarf.
Maybe a little dowdy?

Well,  let me dispel all thoughts of that.

This is the wedding we've just been to in Iran.

Like weddings all over the world it took a lot of planning.

I'm told it was done and dusted in two months.

Which astounded me, when you think of big weddings
 in England taking sometimes two years and more.

I had been taken to the beauty salon by one of the young " brides" in the family earlier in the day.

Makeup first.....I'm not a great one for the made up look. 
I prefer it to look more natural.
I was ok with the heavy around the eyes, but told the make up girl to lose all the big lips effect.
I don't think she was used to wiping all her work off.
To me it looked liked I'd had a lip job that had gone wrong.

Hair and nails then.

Most of the women at the wedding would have done a salon visit during the day.
It's part of it.

Even the men went off to the spa.
I have never ever seen my husband in a facepack!

Which  I do have a photo of.
(But I have been warned...... if it winds up on the blog or FB......
You get the idea??)

Nass said the whole thing was fun.

Between treatments some of the men got up to dance around.
The wedding day high spirits starting early.

After dashing back to the house to change Nass and I were whisked off to the photographic studio.
A few professional shots of him and I.

 All the close family had been there throughout the day for theirs.
When we saw the photo later Nass remarked
"Wow that's the best photo I've ever seen of me."
"That's because it's been airbrushed."
"No it hasn't!"
"Look closely, when did you ever have a manicure!"

As we walked into the massive purpose built venue, I felt nervous.
My command of farcie  isn't great and I would be with the women in one huge hall.

Nass would be next door with the men.
No translator sitting beside me.
Two of the young wives in the family speak English and knowing that gave me more confidence.

I need not have worried.

I was whisked off to the family table at the front.
On the way women I had met before all came to hug me and say hello.
The language barrier  was not a problem.

As long as there are smiles, hugs and much touching of the heart with the right hand. 
At the same time nodding and mumbling the long hello, how are you, how's the family, etc etc.
Seemed to get me through ok.

People that spoke English all wanted to come and practise.

One girl of about 16 years old, came up to me to speak.
I'm telling you....she didn't pause for breathe.
No, no really, she didn't.

"What do you think of Yazd?"
And before I could answer she gave me the full tourist board talk on the area.
"Where in England do you come from?"
As I opened my mouth to speak,
"My cousin lives in Manchester. You may wonder why I have an American accent, well it's because I learnt to speak English by and American course........."

I gave up and let her practise and although I stood smiling and nodding, my one thought was,
"Crikey, I need a drink."

The one thing that was missing!

Most women took off either their chador or manteau and scarf.

Underneath revealing the most beautiful outfits.
Not out of place on any Western catwalk.

These dresses would only be worn once.
They NEVER turn up to the next wedding. 
It just isn't done.

Shame on me, my outfit had seen 3 weddings already.

I could feel the anticipation growing with each minute while we sat round the table picking at fruit and pastries.

The bride, ( Shardi...means happiness....a very apt name for someone who never stops smiling.)  
and groom (Nass's nephew Amir, )appeared on a balcony.

The lights dimmed.
The guests hushed.

Then to the strains of the music from Titanic, playing LOUDLY, amid smoke pouring from a machine ,they slowly walked down the stairs.

The cheers and whoops from around 250 women gave me goose pimples as the couple made their way into the main room.

Some women put back chador or scarf and manteau, as a man (the groom)  entered the room.
Close family didn't.

The photographic team were all women.
About 8 of them.
Every second was recorded, either by stills or video.
The couple followed every second.
There were about 8 women in the photographic crew. They followed every single moment.

The bride and groom made their way to the stage.

There followed dancing from both the couple and their guests. 
The singing reached quite a volume.

Once the groom returned to the men the women really let their hair down.

Dancing, whooping, singing, and all without the aid of a glass of champagne.
(Well, of course, without the aid of anything alcoholic)

Later the male members of close family returned.
Scarves and chadors went back on.
The atmosphere remained electric, but the women guests were more restrained with dancing.

Fathers and mothers of bride and groom, danced.
As did brothers and sisters.

After the fathers and brothers left, the whooping resumed.

The bride and her three closest danced a well rehearsed dance.
She later danced alone with a substitute bouquet which was tossed into the crowd.
A young member of the family caught it, the delight clearly visible in her face.
We laughed afterwards together as I told her in bitty farcie, her father, Nass's brother,  would need to start saving, if she was to be next.

Then it was all over.
The chadors and manteau were back on.
Anyone wearing very skimpy attire went into the changing room to put back their street clothes.

What an experience! 

I left and managed to find a glass of red wine somewhere.

But hey! That's another story.

We had some great adventures in the days that followed.
Sunsets in the desert and exploring ancient sites.

More of that later.

Back to work

Yes, it wasn't long after we returned that we were on the case.
Nass went straight to the shop.
Though so jet lagged he returned only an hour later, muttering "Tomorrow, I'll do it tomorrow."

It was jolly cold as we walked into our house.
We put the heating on.
Having been in temperatures of 110 F and over we were not ready for the autumn English chill.

We are now busy getting new stock online.

 These are gorgeous
1930's Italian leather armchairs

All our latest items can be see on The Hoarde