Arrival in Esfahan (Book Excerpt, Iran 4)

Central Iran – Arrival in Esfahan

(DAY 12) Newspapers, websites, TV news – it seemed that every one of them had run a feature on Iran’s rejuvenated nuclear program in the days leading up to this part of my trip. In nearly every story Esfahan was listed as the major city closest to the program’s home. There were so many stories it actually felt like driving into a spotlight, like being back in Baghdad, knowing you were at the center of world attention.

Esfahan was the first large city we’d been in since Tehran. After all of the emptiness and countryside it felt cramped and confusing. I could tell it bothered Professor too – he was more at home in the country or around the tourist sites than driving in big city traffic.

Searching for our downtown hotel took forever in Esfahan’s confusing maze of one-way streets and wall-to-wall cars. We had to stop and ask for directions a half dozen times, though by now I could roll down the window and ask for directions myself. Seeing the surprised looks on people’s faces when a foreigner asked for directions, let alone in Farsi, got Professor and I laughing and helped break the tediousness of the search.