I offer no formal blog in September. Next week (9/13) I fly via Lufthansa from Washington DC to Tehran, Iran (via Frankfurt) to join five other individuals on a tour of central and south Iran (Persia). We will join Richard Bangs (sometimes regarded as the "Father of Adventure Travel") on a 15-day roundabout to explore the antiquities and historic sites of the old Zoroastrian, Nestorian Christian and Moslem cultures that made Persia one of the world's greatest empires at one time. Included on the itinerary is the tomb of Cyrus the Great, who ironically has been considered a second Messiah to the Jews, because it was he who freed the Jews from Babylon and provided them safe passage back to their Holy Land (as described in the Old Testament). Also, we will visit the desert and arid mountain cities of Kashan, Ishfahan, Shiraz, and Yahzd, the latter being one of the oldest continuously active towns in the world. The great Persepolis, a megacity of King Darius and others, is also on the route, among several other UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites (at least 4).
Bangs, himself, led something like 35 first descents of major world rivers including the Yangtze and Zambezi in the 1970s and 80s. He also was directly involved in the founding and development of Sobek Travel which eventually merged with Mountain Travel, forming the travel agency I am travelling with -- Mountain Travel/Sobek. He also has been part of the administration of the Expedia internet service, among numerous other editing and travel writing and filming activities.
With visa in hand (approved by Iran's ministry), I fly beneath the politics radar and hopefully will have a chance to interact with a culture that seems so far away and sadly little understood in the U.S. I will return on September 30.
(Note: Iran was known as Persia until the 1930s).
PERSIAN RUG, western China (China and Persia have had a long millennial relationship trading along the Silk Road and the side routes between the Middle East and Xian and beyond.)
Iran is a western neighbor of Afghanistan. Below are a few photos taken in Kabul, roughly 15 years ago.
Original Photo, Kabul
Artistic rendering of Kabul
A Kabul suburb (2002)