Travel Letters

Kashan to Tehran


Isfahan Province


May 30, 2022

Yes, that’s me, second from the left wearing a black shirt and scarf.

The man on my left is holding a 1000 Thai Baht note.  Two young men are holding books.

Here’s the story:

In Kashan, my guide Mehran and I stroll down a busy street in an area popular with tourists.  Outside an international book shop, I spot a rack filled with books in English.  A “must stop!”


Phra Nakhorn Si Ayutthaya

Phra Nakhorn Si Ayutthaya Province


January 2, 2023

“Dress-up Day” at Wat Chai Wattanaram


After he read one of my recent posts, a friend in Bangkok wrote, “I learned something.”  A comment like this is most rewarding.  The goals for my website have always been “To Entertain, To Educate, To Encourage.”

On my return trip to Ayutthaya, I also decided to learn something.   I carefully read the guide in the hotel lobby.  Here is a bit of history:

“Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 following a smallpox epidemic that ravaged the neighboring city of Lopburi.  According to the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya, King U-Thong and his troops trekked for days before arriving at a river.  On the other side they found an island surrounded by rice fields and three merging rivers.  The king established his new capital there.  

Kharanaq and Nain

Kharanaq Village

Yazd Province


May 27, 2022


On the desert drive from Yazd to Kashan, I made a detour to the  4000 year old village of Kharanaq to see the 1800 year old Castle.

Then another detour to Nain for another castle, and lunch!


Kharanaq  Village

This 4500-year-old city is surrounded by mountains on one side and desert on the other. Many buildings in Kharanaq are completely collapsed and ramshackle. But the remaining mosque from the Qajar period, and a shaking minaret from 17th Century, and the caravanserai of the city have been reconstructed.

Yazd: The Pure City


Yazd Province


May 26, 2022


The historical city of Yazd was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

Because of generations of adaptations to its desert surroundings, Yazd has a unique Persian architecture.  It is nicknamed the "City of Windcatchers."  It is also very well known for its Zoroastrian fire temples, cisterns, underground channels, water coolers, Persian handicrafts, handwoven cloth, silk weaving, Persian cotton candy, and its time-honored confectioneries.

The Amir Chakhmaq Complex is a prominent structure in Yazd.  It is noted for its symmetrical sunken alcoves and a mosque.  It also contains a caravanserai, monastery, bathhouse, cold water well, and confectionery.  During the Iran–Iraq War and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with the United States, many Iraqis and Afghanis came to inhabit the Amir Chakhmaq Square.

Rafsanjan and the Pistachio Farm

Rafsanjan City

(pop. 137,000)

Kerman Province


May 25, 2022


On the drive north from Kerman City to Yazd, we stop for lunch where we meet a group of pistachio farmers. (Rafsanjan is known as the largest producer of pistachios in the world.) Ali invites us to visit his farm.   How can we refuse?

After a leisurely snack and drink, Ali introduces us to his foreman and the Afghani workers.  In Iran, Afghanis are a highly respected group.  They arrive on time, put in a full day’s work, and are scrupulously honest.  (Apparently in Iran there are now four million Afghanistan immigrants/exiles/refugees.)

Ali takes us on a tour of his farm including the production and storage areas. He is quite proud.  And like everyone else I meet in Iran, overly generous.