These whole past 12 days in Shiraz have felt like some crazy dream, and I can't believe I haven't left the city yet, but I have met such great people that I seem incapable of leaving. I know I will go to Yazd soon, after Charshanbe suri, and Nowruz, but I am in no hurry (besides my visa expiring which I think I can easily extend). I don't want to ever leave! Even with the little annoyances and things you take for granted back in Canada -like the lack of easily available alcohol, or having to wear the hijab every day and my hair being constantly flat and static-y as a result. Even with all the rules and restrictions of Iran, I am having a ridiculously fun time. People here are so genuine and friendly and the family I am staying with is so openminded and cool, I really can't say it enough. It is completely unlike any stereotype westerners might have in their heads about Iranians, and it is really so amazingly great.
Last night me and Nariman and his sister and a whole bunch of his friends went to a really interesting restaurant, the Haft Khan complex (built by a famous Shirazian architect to resemble Ferdowsi's seven stages of houses, after a famous Persian book, "Shahnameh"), and I had such a fun time, constantly laughing....I think back to Canada, and I know that in a similar social situation there, me and my friends would only have that much fun if we were drunk. There is something almost amazing about the fact that the things I've been doing here (playing charades and silly games like truth or dare that normally REQUIRE one to be drunken); the ensuing hilarity and silliness have been totally sober. (Which isn't to say I couldnt reallly go for a cool pint of beer right now, or that as a result of no alcohol in cafes, I have become legitimatly addicted to sheesha and cheap cigarettes). But is is nice that my experiences haven't been clouded at all, or in any sort of haze. I'm sure I will remember them stronger as a result. People here have a great sense of humour and laugh almost constantly....maybe that's why I feel so at home? (Because I am constantly laughing about something, it seems).
I don't really know what else to say. My brain is a mishmash of thoughts and smells and sights and tastes; jasmine flower water on ice, Orange trees in the frontyard that smell so strongly, perfuming the air; watching Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" with friends and laughing hysterically at his similarities to Ahmadinejad; swearing at the slow internet but not really caring that much because it is actually more fun to talk to someone face-to-face than on facebook; driving around Shiraz, with its insane drivers and endless U-turns; late evening pomegranite juice and foot long hot dogs, staying up until sunrise watching youtube videos and laughing and talking endlessly, learning hilarious curse words in Farsi and all the translations and awkward sentences of trying to express oneself in a culture so different, yet so seemingly the exact same as me.