Esfahan Moment

10 PM, sitting at a table at a fast food shop on Chahar Bagh, the main avenue in town, itself a Safavid creation. Waiting on Derek, who’s ordering food.

Shop’s full of people–what a treat to eat with others, busy and lively, illuminated signs and maybe even the glint of neon. Nice to be back in urban life, out of cities that died in the evening, people retreating to their homes. Noise of the servers wrapping up food, people ordering, and the honking of cars on the road.

I hear Derek cluck to explain that he wants chicken, and then look over just in time to catch the end of his rooster strut and see him slap his butt to indicate a thigh piece–people stare and laugh, as do I.

An African man stands at the counter, an Asiatic (Hazara?) boy meets my eyes, a man with three shirt buttons undone empties a packet of ketchup onto his pizza pie.

Bus boy stands in his dirty short sleeve uniform, wearing a New York Yankees cap, wipes his brow.

A man scraggly bearded–is he an example of the type who supports the government? Contrary to so many of the people who choose to speak to us? Is it people like him that put the country where it is?

Next table, an odd couple: A middle-aged American (?) and a younger Iranian guy. Did they meet on the Internet? What is the nature of their encounter? The American seems to be explaining atheism–something about believing himself a monkey sitting on a rock revolving around a blazing ball.

Derek returns to the table.

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