Barcelona, Seville, Iran – 3 of 3

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While in Barcelona, I also made friends with a Kiwi (New Zealander) named Cameron who was staying at my hostel and working as a deckhand on a ship in port nearby. I was impressed and intrigued with his job and the way he was travelling and likewise was he with my magic and pictures.

We spent a couple nights with Behrez and Bahareh. taking and laughing about sheep, oil, Bush and each other’s accent. Bahareh told me jon meant dear in Persian, which reminded me of how the same sound means love in Hindi. She took to calling me John-jon (Dear John) and Cameron – Cameron -jon, which she would say slowly in four full and equally sounded syllables. It was my favorite thing to here in Barcelona.

The girls took us to an exhibition of Persian relics on display at a local museum. It was so great to see that while being told the history by Iranians. They pointed out items loaned to Spain by a British museum, which had been stolen from Iran by the Brits a few decades or so ago. Of course this wasn’t openly noted by the museum. We learned about one of the oldest civilizations in the world that thrived in Iran and how the ruler had employed men and woman equally and for fair salaries. They showed us a stone statue of a woman that was missing its head and arms. Had I been there alone, I would have assumed it like every other aged stone statue, the limbs and head failing under the torment of weather. But instead I learned that after the most recent revolution, the head and arms were broken off all the statues of woman in Iran. For it was the succeeding revolutionaries’ belief that a woman’s skin should not be exposed.

One of the best nights I’ve had on my trip was last week when Bahareh and Behnaz took Cameron-jon and me for a long Persian dinner. The upstairs dining room was empty, but we squeezed in to an already occupied table by the bar. The ladies wanted us to experience sitting on the tiny little Persian stools with plush pillows and no backs that were only found on the lower level. It was a small and warm place, the walls painted faux sandstone, the ceiling a faux blue sky. There was one waiter and one waitress who shared table and bar duties and one cook who would come out to chat, laugh and smile with everyone. We ate an eggplant dip to start, then kebab’s, rice and bread with exploding flavors maybe I’d experienced before but couldn’t remember. Behnaz drank water, for she was fasting. Yes, there is indeed a Muslim practice of fasting, but that’s not what she was doing. She fasts once every week for twenty four hours. She says it cleanses her out. I suggested laxatives, seeing as that’s what David Blaine does before his stunts, but in all seriousness I liked the idea of it and might give it a whirl. Bahareh on the other hand does fast during daylight for one month of each year. If someone asked they would say ’Yes, we are Muslim’, but other than that they’re not very religious.

For desert I ate a mixed array of little layered flakey pastries with nuts, Behnaz drank more water and Bahareh and Cameron-jon squinted their eyes and tweaked their cheeks on some special tobacco out of a four foot exotic bong. It was nice to spend some time with people not on a pocket lint and bottle cap budget. We ate well and slow and even tipped the happy street musicians who came inside to play and absolutely blew me away. I’d never sat that close to a violin making such incredible sounds before. From fast heart racing tunes to slow heart pulling tunes, he had me. The cook came out and even lowered the restaurant’s stereo. Customers broke from their meals and conversations to watch and listen. You could see everyone’s face brighten, as they were no longer strangers eating out, but together fans of the food and the music. We all loved it and thought about who we would tell and when we would come back.

Except for me, I knew I wouldn’t go back. But I knew I’d go to Iran.

When I go will have to depend on whether or not George decides to start blowing up people like Behrez and Bahareh’s friends and family. But Iran is most definitely on my must-go list (my old must-see list). I wish George had been at dinner with us.

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