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More Sightseeing in Yazd, Plastic Surgery and Banking in Iran

It’s a non-travelling day. We are in Yazd and can spend the whole day with whatever we like to do. I started the day with a little sleep-in and a typical Iranian breakfast. It consisted of bread, feta type of cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and an egg. This is basically what we’ve been eating for the last weeks in Turkey and Iran but I don’t mind since I like this type of food.

My roommate Isabella was rebellious today and went to breakfast without her headscarf. Her joy lasted only five minutes until she got spotted by a female police officer hanging out in courtyard of the hotel were people having breakfast. The officer was actually here because of our leader Jason. He holds two passports and has presented a different passport at the check-in of the hotel than he was crossing the border with. Somehow the local police has detected this very quickly and came to the hotel to check the situation.

I personally don’t mind the headscarf too much. The only thing which bothers me is my hair is getting greasy underneath the headscarf so I need to wash it more often. The real challenge is to dry it afterwards since I don’t carry a hairdryer with me and aren’t allowed to leave my room without a headscarf which isn’t nice on wet hair.

After breakfast I went to town to see the major sights in the city center of Yazd. While some people in our group walked around with Andrew, who is very knowledgeable about Persian history, I decided to walk around on my own since I’m more interested in the atmosphere of the city than in historic facts.

First I had a look at the Jamed Kabir Mosque which was right next to our hotel. It had beautiful tiles in turquoise, blue, yellow and white color. But somehow I couldn’t enjoy the visit too much since by now I have seen enough mosques. My eyes seem to need a break before they can really appreciate more historic sights.

Next was the Roknedin Mauseleum of which I had seen the cupola from the street. With my eyes attached to the cupola I followed narrow streets until I found the entrance. In the inside of the building was a golden shrine decorated with flowers. There were even light bulbs on top of the shrine which are probably used to put light on it during nighttime.

After visiting two sights I just strolled around the city. Yazd seems to be a more conservative place than Tehran and Isfahan. Women in Yazd appear more covered and seek less opportunities to extend Islamic rules. But they still want to be pretty and in the bazar I saw them pressing their noses against the windows of the numerous shops selling golden jewelry. But what I didn’t see were signs of plastic surgery. In Tehran and Isfahan I saw many women and even men with a plaster on their nose indicating they recently got a nose job done. Plastic surgery is very popular in Iran and even when women cannot show major parts of their body in public they somehow feel pressured to be attractive and get their boobs and nose done or their eyes tattooed with permanent make-up.

Another interesting aspect about Iran is its Islamic Banking System. Financial institutions are requested to comply with the Sharia, the Islamic law. It doesn’t allow banks to charge interest but they call it service fee or so which is basically the same thing. Also international credit cards are widely not accepted in Iran so when you travel to this country make sure you carry lots of US Dollar cash. During the last few days in the country we also observed how the exchange rate was constantly declining. While we started changing at 17.8 Rials to 1 USD we are now at 16.2 Rials.

On the way back to the hotel I passed by the Amir Chakhmaq Mosque and Square. The mosque is currently under restoration and so I could only have a look on it from the outside.

In the evening we went back to restaurant we discovered last night and afterwards some people watched “A Separation” which is an Iranian movie produced in 2011 that managed to win an Oscar.

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