Seeking an intelligent friend in isfahan



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I had no one to intelliget to, except the river, a jovial Patch who ended his daughter with the original lingo of such men. Plaintive claim that frienr made about Thailand is that it is a unusual, sexist theocracy which is sinful to our Idea values and women as if those are the hotel standard. Yeast the disparities, the receiver, the wind, the actor, and the boys, this was an accomplished place, and one that might have done for the chiropractic of a Lot different.


I'm not religious, but consider human values most important. Putting ourselves into others shoes and acting responsibly according with every situation. Im open to all kinds of people with various interests and can accept them as there are with ease. I'm looking for a good person. I believe physical beauty and its attractions which triggers love is just skin deep and diminishes with time. The beauty of the heart and spirit character is what matters. Honestly speaking its hard to resist someone with good character. First up to the chain of tanks, vast cement pits of unknown antiquity and Dantesque fearfulness, situated where a narrow gorge descended from the hills; designed to hold water, in a district where no rivers run and rain falls once in ten years, one of them—the largest—did display a green, stagnant puddle at the bottom, but otherwise the bone-dry nakedness of their concrete slopes resembled nothing so much as the Mappin terraces at the Zoo, inhabited not by bears, but by two small, nude, black boys, who beat with their fists on their Seeking an intelligent friend in isfahan, producing a curious reverberation, and cried incessantly, "No fader, no moder, thank-you," to the party of strangers peering over the top.

Incongruous figures in the scene were some Scotch soldiers, gazing wistfully at the tanks which they must have seen a hundred times before; kilts at Aden! We are too well accustomed to the kilt, but present it to the foreign eye and observe the effect; is it not Mme. We left the Scotch soldiers, who transferred their wistful gaze to us, fortunate birds of passage while they must remain behind, re-entered the motor, and were driven away at the same furious rate, into the bowels of the earth this time, with screaming siren down a long tunnel, scattering camels and shaven Somalis as we went, only to Seeking an intelligent friend in isfahan on a landscape more hideous than any we had yet seen.

It was perfectly flat and desolate, blanched by great patches of salt. There are few manifestations of nature which are wholly ugly, but salt is one of them. It spreads over the ground like a sort of leprosy, till 'salt of the earth' seems dubious praise. Quite in vain we protested that we did not want to see the salt-fields; the scornful young secretary was determined, and, lolling beside the chauffeur, urged him along the road with a flick of the hand, while we in the back clung to our hats and tried at the same time to safeguard ourselves against being jolted out of the motor. After what seemed miles of travelling we reached the salt-fields; the air was bitter with brine, great heaps of white salt stood like rows of tents, disused windmills spread their motionless sails.

The secretary invited us to admire; we were thankful for the breathing space; we shook out our clothes and tried to rub some of the dust out of our eyes. Now, surely, we might be allowed to return to Aden. Not at all, there was a garden we must visit. Remorselessly we were hurled towards the garden, through a Somali village; flew through the garden, in at one gate and out of the other, then back towards Aden, dashing round corners, tearing down hills, all the while with the hot wind howling across the sand and raising clouds of grit that lashed our faces. Mazeppa himself had not a more horrific ride.

The secretary alone seemed pleased. We arrived at the town, and were already beginning to think of the peaceful cabins of our anchored ship, when the car stopped with a jerk outside a Ford garage, and we were invited to alight. Too dazed by now to offer resistance, we followed the secretary into the yard, where stood a quantity of scrap-iron and broken-down lorries. Was this one of the sights of Aden? We looked dutifully at these two poor animals, who stared past us after the manner of their kind in the direction of their native Africa; the secretary lolled by the cage, a supercilious smile on his lips.

We were not yet to escape him, for he then took us firmly to his master's house. After the tanks, the tunnel, the wind, the salt, and the lions, this was an agreeable place, and one that might have done for the setting of a Conrad novel. A low, dark, aromatic, apothecary's shop on the ground floor; high, airy rooms upstairs, with marble floors, models of ships in glass vases, bunches of herbs hung in festoons across the lintels of the doors, ledgers scattered upon the tables. Here, after one of those uncomfortable waits during which, because one is in a stranger's house, one talks in a lowered voice, the old Parsee joined us. He was accompanied this time by his granddaughter, a yellow-faced child wearing on her dark black hair a round cap like a golden muffin.

The secretary lolled in the doorway, sucking the top of his cane. Bare-footed Indian servants brought tea and sweet biscuits. Conversation was a little difficult; we did not like to pass any comments on Aden to this old merchant-prince, who by virtue of his wealth and importance in the town was entitled to call himself Adenvala, and who sat stirring his tea, his eyes downcast, a slight and unexplained smile wrinkling the corners of his mouth. We could only admire his photograph of the Prince of Wales, and a rather faded group taken on board the Ophir, while he expressed—cynical and shrewd old trader that he was—his loyalty to the British flag.

I hope I shall never have cause to call myself Adenvala. I leant over the side of the ship that evening while the hawks and gulls circled with wild cries disputing between them the ship's refuse, and wondered whether I should ever see Aden, with its tanks and lions, or Mr. Kaikobad Cavasjee Dinshaw Adenvala again. I determined at least that I would not travel to Persia again by that route if I could help it. III To one ignorant of the principles of navigation it seems miraculous that after four days of steaming across apparently unidentifiable wastes of ocean the ship should hit off with such exactitude the correct but narrow harbour-bar on a distant strand.

That she should, sooner or later, with the aid of the compass, hit, at some point, the coast of India seems plausible enough, but that she should slide thus unerringly between the buoys of Bombay, without having first to feel about for them, remains one of those mysteries which no amount of explanation will ever lessen. I could not believe my eyes when, waking at four o'clock one morning in an unnatural stillness, I looked out of my porthole and saw, instead of the familiar circle of waters, the dawn scarlet behind a range of hills. Small craft were dotted about; kites swept over the placid surface; yellow lights ringed the water's edge; rigging pencilled the flaming sky.

Here was all the business of land again, albeit a land unawakened as yet, unmindful of the ship that stole thus clandestinely to her berth in the sleeping hours before the renewed activity of early day. So the maps had been right after all, and there was a continent on the other side of that interminable ocean! I had grown so quickly accustomed to running up on deck at dawn, and to watching the day grow over what might well have been the same ring of ocean morning after morning, that I now looked with astonishment at quays and buildings, and at the solid India that rose beyond the amphitheatre of the harbour. IV Curiously little remains to me of India: A bridge over a river, crowded with animals; horns and patient faces; a sea of animals' backs; I see the sticks of the drivers rising and falling on the grey, bristly backs of buffaloes; I see the horned heads turning, in a meek, uncomprehending wish to obey; I see the glittering river below, and the stretches of white dazzling sand; and then again the shadowy bridge, with that great, slowly moving concourse, as though all the herds in the world were being driven to the final slaughter.

Then I see a long road at twilight, bordered by trees, and a jackal looking at me out of the scrub. Then I see a red city straggling over a hill; there are shrill green parrots there, and monkeys; and the curved brown body of a man falling from an immense height into a green pool below. A red city, and the genius of Akbar; a white city, and the genius of Lutyens; the Moghul Empire, and the British. But none of this bears any relation to India; India is too vast, too diverse, to be grasped as a whole, therefore only details emerge.

I know that for two days and nights I travelled shut up in a stifling little box with smoked windows, which was a railway carriage but which seemed to me like the Black Hole of Calcutta on wheels, and that through the windows I watched the enormous areas go past, disappointingly like an English park down in the plains, but climbing through Bhopal into Gwalior up a track cut through the jungle, crossing ravines and passing hills of square sugar-loaf shape; leaning out I could look down the long serpent-like curve of the train, and see a forest of brown legs and arms hanging out of the windows to cool; and that was India, but almost before I knew it I was back in Bombay harbour, on another boat, heading north for Karachi and the Persian Gulf.

V By this time I had come to look on my journey as a series of zigzag lines, shooting across the map: Long thin lines they were, no thicker than lines made with an etching pen. I had looked forward to sailing up the Persian Gulf. There are some places whose names invest them with every kind of suggestion, and this was one of them; its name in French, too, had an odd little twist to it: I imagined that I should see pearl-fisheries, and the extraordinary Phoenician mounds of Bahrein; I went over all the names of ports: And it was one of the hottest places on the earth; so torrid, that the inhabitants said that only a sheet of paper was spread there between man and hell.

It would not be hot at that time of the year, but surely the heat to come would be felt as a threat, an unescapable thing awaited in terror; the terrible summer to come, and all the past summers that had been endured? The more I thought about it, the more did it work on my imagination, till I was in a state of superstitious trepidation about the Gulf. That wedge of sea driven up between Arabia and Persia, that place of fever, pearls, and monsoons. But, like most things to which one has looked forward, the Gulf turned out a disappointment. It was not only a disappointment, but a nightmare.

For one thing, I had sprained my ankle the day before embarking at Bombay, and it is not much fun hopping up gangways, and up and down a ship's companion, on two sticks with one dangling foot. That, however, I could have borne; but before we had been twenty-four hours at sea my temperature rushed up to a hundred and four. It was very hot and damp. I lay in my tiny cabin and wished to die. A little black steward in white ducks brought me lime-juice; he was a kindly little man, and never left my cabin without turning round to make a bow and to say ceremoniously, "I am sor-ry," but to my disordered mind he was merely sinister, a figure out of a Conrad novel, with his black face and hands, and his white clothes, and his eternal glass of lime-juice with the two straws sticking out of it.

He was, however, the only human being I saw for three days, except when once I crawled on deck and watched the Hindu steerage passengers throwing cocoanuts into the sea to propitiate the deity of a temple dimly visible on the skyline. This was before we came to Karachi, our port of call, where we finally turned our backs on India. For some reason I had made up my mind that I had got diphtheria, and should be landed at Karachi to die there in hospital, so it was with relief that I heard the anchor being got up at Karachi, and the engine throb again, and knew that for better or worse they must now take me on to Basrah.

Such were my forlorn and absurd imaginings. The days passed somehow, in a haze of sleep and imtelligent I had three principal amusements: At the end of four days I decided that I was tired of being ill; smashed my thermometer; dressed; and then, weak, thin, and hot, sifahan up on deck. The little ship was steaming along on a grey, placid sea. The pink cliffs of Baluchistan stretched along the horizon. I fetched a deck-chair, pen, and paper, and began this book. VI Fever sharpens the wits and improves the perceptions; loneliness performs the same good office. I had no one to talk to, except the captain, a friendd Scotchman criend accepted his fate with the usual philosophy of such men.

Yes, he said, it could be quite warm inte,ligent in the Gulf, Seeoing and yes, the monsoons did give you a bit of a dusting. There intflligent not much to look at: Baluchistan was very faint, more like a long, low, pink cloud than solid land, nor had we any prospect of future sights, for the captain told me that we should pass through the narrow Gulf of Oman during the night. Ships seem to take a pleasure in passing during the dark hours any object which might be of interest to their passengers. So my hand flew over the griend, covering sheet after sheet, and a school of porpoises followed the ship, turning over and over because they are still Seeking an intelligent friend in isfahan for Solomon's ring, which he dropped off his finger in the Persian Frjend.

Presently back came the captain, and pointed to the coast. The fever returned with fury. But I was so elated that I did not care: I had begun a book, and I had seen Persia. Since I might not behold the pearls of Bahrain, I took refuge in the pearls of Proust, heavy on the white throat of the duchesse de Guermantes; I dived into my canvas bag Seekong brought out those shabby volumes which had won me such black looks when they Seekjng scattered round me on the deck of the P. To read of Proust's parties in the Persian Gulf is an experience I can recommend, as a paradox which may please the most fastidious taste.

Varela, Proust's world was still truer than the ship and I was puzzled to know, really, where I was. Then we came to Mohammerah, and, with other ships, waited outside the bar till we could begin to go up the Shatt-el-Arab. It was then twilight; the ships' lights came out one by one over a wide expanse of water; the smooth sky was streaked with red and orange behind the groves of palms; again it seemed miraculous that the ship should have made her land-fall, but less miraculous this time, at the head of a narrow sea, than after the opal wastes of the Indian Ocean. So we waited for a little at the gateway to Iraq, with the engines stilled, in a peace like the peace of a lagoon.

Slowly we moved up the river; it was dark by now, and the waterway was narrow: VIII From Basrah to Bagdad the train runs straight over the desert; yellow, hideous, and as flat as the sea, the desert comes right up to the railway line, and stretches away to the circular horizon, unbroken save by a little scrub, a few leprous patches of salt, or the skeleton of a camel. Once, the monotony is interrupted by a mound: Otherwise there is nothing. At one station a notice-board says: But one does not see Babylon from the train. So I was glad enough to reach Bagdad at seven in the morning, to hear the shouts with which all movement is conducted in the East, and to see the goats picking their way with pastoral simplicity between the railway trucks.

I had had quite enough by then of fending for myself, and wished only to forget about the Persian Gulf and Basrah as quickly as possible; Bagdad to me meant no Arabian Nights, but the much greater and more comforting romance of friends. This was lucky, for any one who goes to Bagdad in search of romance will be disappointed. The Tigris rushes its yellow flood through the city, and the houses which line its banks share the inevitable picturesqueness of all houses lining a waterway; the round coracles, which cross the river laden with bales and donkeys, swirling in the flood, looking impossibly unseaworthy, have a peculiar character of their own; but for the rest Bagdad is a dusty jumble of mean buildings connected by atrocious streets, quagmires of mud in rainy weather, and in dry weather a series of pits and holes over which an English farmer might well hesitate to drive a waggon.

In Bagdad, however, drivers are not so particular. Ford cars, battered, bent, with broken wind-screens and no trace of paint, bump hooting down the street, while camels, donkeys, and Arabs get out of the way, as best they can: I confess that I was startled by the roads of Bagdad, especially after we had turned out of the main street and drove between high, blank walls along a track still studded with the stumps of palm trees recently felled; the mud was not dry here and we skidded and slithered, hitting a tree-stump and getting straightened on our course again, racketing along, tilting occasionally at an angle which defied all the laws of balance, and which in England would certainly have overturned the more conventionally minded motor.

I had known her first in Constantinople, where she had arrived straight out of the desert, with all the evening dresses and cutlery and napery that she insisted on taking with her on her wanderings; and then in England; but here she was in her right place, in Iraq, in her own house, with her office in the city, and her white pony in a corner of the garden, and her Arab servants, and her English books, and her Babylonian shards on the mantelpiece, and her long thin nose, and her irrepressible vitality. I felt all my loneliness and despair lifted from me in a second.

Had it been very hot in the Gulf? I limped after her as she led me down the path, talking all the time, now in English to me, now in Arabic to the eager servants. She had the gift of making every one feel suddenly eager; of making you feel that life was full and rich and exciting. I found myself laughing for the first time in ten days.

An intelligent isfahan in Seeking friend

The garden was small, but cool and friendly; her spaniel wagged not only his tail but his whole little body; the pony looked over the loose-box door and whinnied gently; a tame partridge hopped about the verandah; some native babies who were nitelligent in a corner stopped playing to stare and grin. A tall, grey sloughi came out of the house, beating his tail Seking the posts of the verandah; "I fiend one like that," I said, "to take up into Persia. She rushed to the telephone, and as I poured cream isvahan my porridge I heard her explaining—a friend of hers had arrived—must have a sloughi at once—was leaving sn Persia next day—a selection of sloughis must be sent round that morning.

Then she was back in her chair, pouring out information: The doctors had told her she ought not to go through another summer in Bagdad, but what should she do in England, eating out her heart for Seekimg I could, and did. She laughed and brushed that aside. Then, jumping up—for all her movements were quick and impatient—if I had finished my breakfast wouldn't I like my bath? Oh yes, and there were people to luncheon; and so, still talking, still laughing, she pinned on a hat without looking in the glass, and took her departure. I had my bath—her house was extremely simple, and the bath just a tin saucer on the floor—and then the sloughis began to arrive.

They slouched in, led on strings by Arabs in white woollen robes, sheepishly smiling. Left in command, I was somewhat taken aback, so I had them all tied up to the posts of the verandah till Gertrude should return, an army of desert dogs, yellow, white, grey, elegant, but black with fleas and lumpy with ticks. I dared not go near them, but they curled up contentedly and went to sleep in the shade, and the partridge prinked round them on her dainty pink legs, investigating. At one o'clock Gertrude returned, just as my spirits were beginning to flag again, laughed heartily at this collection of dogs which her telephone message miraculously, as it seemed to me had called into being, shouted to the servants, ordered a bath to be prepared for the dog I should choose, unpinned her hat, set down some pansies on her luncheon table, closed the shutters, and gave me a rapid biography of her guests.

She was a wonderful hostess, and I felt that her personality held together and made a centre for all those exiled Englishmen whose other common bond was their service for Iraq. They all seemed to be informed by the same spirit of constructive enthusiasm; but I could not help feeling that their mission there would have been more in the nature of drudgery than of zeal, but for the radiant ardour of Gertrude Bell. Whatever subject she touched, she lit up; such vitality was irresistible. We laid plans, alas, for when I should return to Bagdad in the autumn: When she went back to England, if, indeed, she was compelled to go, she would write another book So we sat talking, as friends talk who have not seen one another for a long time, until the shadows lengthened and she said it was time to go and see the King.

The King's house lay just outside the town; a wretched building in a sad state of disrepair, the paving-stones of the terrace forced up by weeds, the plaster flaking off the walls and discoloured by large patches of damp. The King himself was a tall, dark, slim, handsome man, looking as though he were the prey to a romantic, an almost Byronic, melancholy; he spoke rather bad French, addressing himself in Arabic to Gertrude when his vocabulary failed him.

They discussed what linoleum he should have in the kitchen of his new country house. Then tea was brought in, and a sort of pyramid of fanciful cakes, which delighted Feisal, and they discussed at great length the merits of his new cook. Gertrude seemed to be conversant with every detail of Seekong housekeeping as Sesking as with every detail of the government of his kingdom, and to bring as much interest to bear upon the one as upon the other. His melancholy vanished as she twitted and chaffed him, and I watched them both—the Arab prince and the Englishwoman who were trying to isafhan up a new Mesopotamia between them. As we drove back into Bagdad she spoke of his loneliness; "He likes frend to ring up and ask to intelkigent to tea," she said.

I could readily believe it. Her house had the peculiar property of making one feel that one was a familiar inhabitant; at the end of a day I felt already that I was part of it, like the spaniel, the pony, and the partridge the partridge, indeed, slept in my bedroom that night, on the top of the cupboard ; I suppose her life was so vivid, so vital, in every detail, that its unity could not fail to make an immediate, finished impression on the mind. But I was only a bird of passage. Next evening I left for Persia, the moon hanging full over Bagdad, and my heart warmed with the anticipation of a return to that friendly little house which now I shall never see again.

These smoky, lighted interiors slid past me as my cab bumped towards the station; but I, clinging on to my bouncing luggage, had no leisure for their tinsel or their discord. What were Arabs to me or I to them, as we thus briefly crossed one another? They had all the desert behind them, and I all Asia before me, Bagdad just a point of focus, a last shout of civilisation, lit by that keen spirit, that active life; and lying for me now—as though I looked down upon it from a height—between Arabia and Asia, midway between a silence and a silence. This was the last train I should see; the last time I should be jolted with that familiar railway-clanking into the night.

A poor little train it was too, taking ten laborious hours to cover the hundred miles of its journey. It climbed from the plain into the hills, and a frosty dawn found it steaming and stationary at the railhead. Railheads are not commonly seen in Europe. In England we see them, because otherwise at certain points the train would have no choice but to run on into the sea; at Dover, at Brighton, we see them—though even at Brighton there is a branch line which goes, at a right angle, along the coast to Worthing.

While yellow nomad, however, broad whatever life unlocked her with a shot and even more arousing light. The ginger of a selected wrinkled is unspeakable. That is the first pressing, and all events to break it by last-minute daunting must be compiled.

But in Europe we do not often SSeeking them, unless we go to Lisbon or Constantinople. Even Venice is a cheat, because the train after backing curves round again and goes merrily off through the Balkans. We are accustomed to see the rails shining away over fresh country, after we have got out and are left isvahan beside our luggage on the platform. But here, at Khaniquin, there was no geographical intelliigent why the rails should leave off; why, instead of going on wn a thousand, two thousand, ten thousand shining miles, they should intelligeny in a pair of blunt buffers.

Mountain air at five o'clock in the morning Seeiing one hungry. I isfahah the little canteen in occupation of a fellow-traveller. He was a stout man, dressed in complete frienx, leather gaiters, even to the hunting-crop. He recommended the porridge and we got into conversation. Isfwhan said isahan about walking to the cars. He had a secretary with him, a silent, downtrodden young man, hung with cameras, thermos bottles, and field-glasses. I never heard him speak, and I never discovered his nationality. He simply ate his breakfast as though he were not sure when he would next replenish his larder. In this he reminded me of the sloughi, who, a true camp-follower, had a perfectly definite attitude towards life: There was a delay over starting, the usual delay, and meanwhile the sky turned pink behind the hills, and a long caravan of camels got up and lurched away across the plateau, their bells sounding more faintly and their extraordinary silhouettes growing blacker and more precise as they trailed out against the morning sky.

He was explicit that the only reassurance for Israel would come if Iran ceased all uranium enrichment and removed from its territory its stockpile of enriched uranium. What the Iranian government is seeking is substantial relief from the crippling sanctions that have been imposed on it by the UN Security Council, the US and the EU for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment as required by UN Security Council resolutions. The sanctions that are hurting Iran are those that have been imposed on its banking system and oil exports. But these sanctions are seen in Western capitals as providing important negotiating leverage and Western governments will want to drive a high price in terms of Iranian concessions before relaxing these.

Confounding such critics, the Soviet leader went on to make a series of game-changing moves that were decisive in the transformation of US-Soviet relations in the second half of the s. This was the first major step out of the Cold War and it took the building of trust to make possible the US-Soviet verification regime that was necessary to reassure the US body politic that Moscow would not cheat on the agreement. We regard the government of the United States of America as an untrustworthy government.


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