I just arrived in Iran, where one of my best friends will celebrate his engagement to a woman from Isfahan. At half past four in the morning, there’s little to do at the Tehran Airport, except for looking for your luggage – some of it is apparently lost – and sitting in a chair, trying to fall asleep. But dreams didn’t come and I wished I had not introduced my friend to his future wife – I might have been sleeping in a warm bed at home.
After some time, I decided to take a taxi to Isfahan. A long and pretty expensive trip, but it would at least bring me to my hotel, where I would find sleep a lot easier. We passed along Qom, while the taxi driver continued to ask questions. Iranians are among the most xenophile people in the world and just cannot resist asking questions. I told something about my job, and before I knew, the “shortcut” he proposed had turned out to be a short detour along “a little known archaeological site” that my man wanted me to see.
Tepe Sialk, very early in the morning. The driver had been kind to show me something he believed I didn’t know, so I pretended never to have been there before. In spite of – or because of – this comedy, I greatly enjoyed the unexpected sight. No photos (it was not open yet) but it was nice to see this special place again: here, you can see the complete cultural development from the first half of the fifth millennium BCE. It was, even while I felt uncomfortably cold, absolutely worth the detour, and I almost regretted that we continued to Isfahan.