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May 17, 2002
What the outside world looks like from Yazd
I seem to have spent the last two days trawling through archives of stuff that I wrote while travelling around. I've realised - to my deep alarm - that I've written nothing about some of the key events.
In some ways that's not a problem, because my memory works like a jar of Brazil nuts. Eventually, the biggest chunks rise to the top.
On the other hand, it's nice to be able to read over small details that I may have forgotten, and which might come in handy. Here's a little something that I seem never to have recorded anything about ...
There's a city in Iran called Yazd, which is classified by UNESCO as the oldest continually inhabited city on earth. It's a pleasant place, with an above average tourist hotel, intriguing architecture and a lovely mosque.
Yazd was memorable for another reason, though. It was the only place in Iran where foreigners could access the internet.
Armed with a guide from the hotel, a small group of us bundled into a taxi and were driven a few kilometres to a nondescript door. There was no sign on it, and no indication anywhere of what lay inside. Our guide tapped on the door and we were ushered in. It was all very secretive and strange.
Inside were a couple of brand new computers, and they were connected.
We were only allowed to use them for an hour, so I sat there and typed a dozen emails very, very quickly. They were all variations on a simple theme: "Hi. I'm in Iran and I'm safe. It's beautiful and interesting and the people are lovely. The only serious problem I've had is getting access to the net so I could tell you that."
Then our time was up. Our presence was making the people who ran the business nervous, and that in turn was making us nervous.
Our taxi was still waiting outside, but I was in too good a mood to use it. I asked our guide in what direction the hotel was, and walked back alone.
Night had fallen in the oldest continually inhabited city on earth. I did not see another living soul in the next hour. But I felt alive and empowered and very, very happy. After two weeks in a tightly controlled country, which severely limits people's access to information and the outside world, I'd managed to get a message out. It felt great.Posted by Sean Hegarty at 11:49 PM in the Dog Biscuit category | Comments (0)
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