Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Expecting the unexpected: Meybod, Chak Chak and Kharanaq

One of my best days in Iran was not even supposed to happen. As mandated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I was in the country as part of a tour. A detailed itinerary of this tour had been submitted to and approved by the MoFA (not to be confused with the mofo's) and Yasna was required to periodically check in with them to assure them that we were sticking to the plan. Day 9 read as follows: Day at Leisure. In other words, there was nothing planned for this day. I was free to wander around and do as I pleased (although as a US citizen, I was supposed to be closely supervised, so the whole 'wander around' thing is rather open to interpretation). I had already determined that there was not much to do in Yazd, so I decided to book a visit to three nearby towns.

I am still not clear on what happened next. As I was trying to arrange the day tour, there was a sudden bureaucratic flare-up with no one sure whether it was ok for me to take off with another agency's guide and calls coming in from Tehran trying to figure out what was going on with the rogue American. (How they found out remains a mystery). I suspect that what I was encountering was a brief glimpse into the typical life of an Iranian, living somewhere between what is "legally prohibited" and what is "not exactly legal but tolerated". In the end, not wanting to make waves, we hit upon a new plan. I would forego the tour and Yasna her day off. Together, we would hire a driver and go visit the three nearby towns I had hoped to see.