Hospitality in Shiraz, Iran

I recently received a package of saffron from an Iranian friend of mine. Iranian saffron is high-quality and comes from the region of Mashhad. As I was preparing a dish of mussels with the saffron, my mind drifted to days spent in Shiraz. I was at the market trying to bargain for a beautiful old leather bag, but my Farsi is very poor. I felt somebody’s hand on my shoulder, and a gentleman introduced himself and his daughters. He volunteered to help me. I bought the bag and was invited to have tea with them in a local teahouse. They were speaking mysteriously with each other when the father suddenly payed the bill, put everyone in his car and took us to my hotel. He put my suitcase in his car and took me to his house, saying that it was not a nice hotel and I would be more than welcome in their home. Early in the morning he invited all his “women”–three daughters, his wife and I–to go to the bath-house to be scrubbed. And we were scrubbed!

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