9.15.2017

A month in Iran: reportage 8: The castle of Targhrood

Image may contain: people sitting"Who asks...?" the Afghan guy hands out his telephone standing beside his barrow on the gate of the ancient castle of Targhrood.  Abandoned and almost ruined, the huge fortress overlooks the village. "Stop! men at work! Entrance forbiden!" Masoud is talking to the site manager: "Mersi mersi... Khoda hafez! He knows your cousin..." he tells his wife "He says kind regards, please you are welcome." The guy steps aside and we get in. What a privilege! the site is going to be open to the public in some years but now we can visit it all, without restrictions.
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We have no guide and I can't find information in English about this place. We just look at it in amazement and take a lot of pictures. But what strikes me the most are the workers, the two Afghan guys who are restoring the castle. Young, talking farsi with a strong accent, they prepare some chai sqatted beside the fire. Decades of war have forced milions of Afghan to leave their country and many have been welcome in Iran as refugees. They are employed in the less paid works and in Tehran it's common to see Afghan children begging in the traffic. It's a neverending drama. Even the hospitable Iranian society failed to give them a better future.

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The workers are relatively well dressed, they have work gloves and helmets, probably they sleep here, on the floor, in the restored part of the castle. They make bricks mixing earth and grass, cook them in the sun and place them one by one to rebuild the damaged walls.  Their salary is no doubt low, still it's probably good compared to what they can get in Afghanistan... I think of my Nepali friends working abroad, unhappy, homesick but feeling lucky if they can send something to their families. It's a hard life. Still their eyes kept something childish, an intact beauty. Indeed... the most beautiful eyes I have seen in Iran...

Image may contain: shoesThe view from the top of the castle is monotonous and a little disappointing. A flat desert corrugated at the horizon like an untidy carpet. Let's go home, preparing a tasty kebab... The Afghan guy keep looking at us while we descent to the car, a realtively big banknote in his hand. 
Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorIn Tar the heat is dry and almost always windy during the day. At night the temperature is definitely lower, almost cold. On the way home we raid the villages on search of a one kilos chicken for tonight chicken kebab. Masoud explains that it must be one kilos, a small tender chicken. It's the sunset, and passing by a small mosque, in its faint greenish light, I hear the adan...
No automatic alt text available.Shish kebab secret, now I know, it's a dangerous one: Masoud has cut the chiken meat in small pieces, pierced them by big steel skewers and is now greasing them with butter! On the terrace the barbecue is ready. Meanwhile Najmeh is cooking the polo (rise). But the most wanted part of the dinner is the piece of bread Masoud used to take the meat out from the skewers! 

TO BE CONTINUED

Have also a look to Part 1Part 2,  Part 3Part 4 Part 5Part 6 and Part 7
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