Monday, March 5, 2007

Zagros Restaurant in Tehran

At the top of Park Jamshidieh, above the shadowed walkways and benches, there is a long, long series of stone stairs. You follow them and gradually the ever present cheesy music that wafts from the food stands and the voices of the young couples and families fade from your hearing.

You climb and climb, pausing breathlessly along the way to make promises to yourself about getting into better shape. The sun is bright and the sweat and discomfort spoil your appreciation of the view below, so you plunge upward toward the restaurant that lies ahead perched on the mountainside.

Your goal reached, you take a seat on a carpeted platform and peer down through the bright dyed wool Qashqaei decorations. Tehran is far below under a smear of smog. You're beyond the reach of its noise and its smell and its heat. The ghalyan arrives. You're with friends. There's talk and teasing about who struggled most on the long stairway. The conversation lapses into silence as you stare out over the city, amazed and grateful to be in this place.