Friday afternoon I got a email from Nene Overland confirming they had shipped me the new starter motor and including the tracking number. However, checking the TNT web site, I just got a ”not found” error message, which wasn’t very comforting. Nothing to be done until I could call the guys at Nene on Monday, however.
We started the day’s sightseeing with a visit to the Armenian Vank Cathedral in Isfahan’s dwindling Armenian quarter, which features incredible, brightly coloured frescoes covering every square centimetre of its interior. All the major Old and New Testament scenes were there — the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Jonah and the Whale, Daniel and the Lions, the Massacre of the Innocents, Jesus booting the moneychangers out of the Temple, etc. Also present was a series of frescoes depicting the 12 horrible tortures endured by St. Gregory the Illuminator, at the hands of the Armenian King Tiradates, which including flogging, breaking on the wheel, having some foul liquid forced into his ass, and having molten metal poured over his head, amongst others, none of which managed to diminish the luminous lustre of his halo or cause him to lose his faith. Evidently, however, Tiradates never tried forcing him to attempt to import a vehicle into Iran; I have little doubt the trauma would have cracked him and caused him to renounce his faith in God.
Afterwards, we stocked up on goodies at the nearby Armenian bakery before returning to the carpet shop for some more tea and haggling. As promised, they brought some more carpets, but still I didn’t like any of them as much as the one I had my eye on the day before. Finally we got down to business and after a bit of back and forth, pleadings of poverty on my part, protests that I was essentially robbing him on his part, we settled on a price of 1550 US dollars. More tea, a few last efforts to sell me a second carpet, money changed hands and the deal was sealed.
Before leaving the bazaar we also visited the miniature shop, where I browsed hundreds of tiny hunting and battle scenes, portraits of dervishes, bird, animal and floral scenes, etc. before selecting a small camel bone box with a bird motif for MJ.
Afterwards, we wandered over to the nearby ”Forty-Columned Palace,” or Chehel Sotoun, a Safavid era palace which in fact has only 20 columns, but with the traditional reflecting pool in front, the reflection doubles the number to 40 in Iranian accounting (and to think I just bought a carpet from these people).
Our final stop was to return to the Jameh Mosque, which I had visited alone my first evening in Isfahan. Back to the hotel for dinner, and then a visit to two of Isfahan’s famous bridges in the evening. Next stop, Tehran.
6 July 2015