We got up at 6:30 and got ready for the bus. The Wrestler was ready to go downstairs and grab a quick bite in the kitchen. First we went to the lobby. Once there he sat down, all of a sudden saying that he didn’t feel so good. We started walking up the stairs with the manager who was going to tell the cook to make something for us when all of a sudden the Wrestler started stumbling holding his stomach. We got him in the kitchen and sat him down. His head started lolling and the manager grabbed it, holding it up. I started talking to him loudly, gave him some water and slapped his cheeks to keep him awake. I told the manager to get a doctor, he left and I took the Wrestler’s head. He started to lose consciousness so with my free hand I grabbed his bag and pulled out a pen. I tried to pry open his mouth and make sure he wasn’t trying to swallow his tongue, he was completely out at this point, but his jaw was clenched tight. I had my fingers in his lips when he jolted awake. I snapped my fingers in his face and got him to open his mouth for a look. He was totally daze. The manager came in and started yelling in Farsi. “How do you feel?” I asked him. He said fine and we started to help him down the hall to a bed.
Holy shit! It was finally hitting me now. Here I was, with only 2 dollars in my pocket (at this point I had “accidentally” used up all my money) in a city where I know no one and cannot speak the language.
A few minutes later the EMTs arrived. I was impressed at their speed. While they were watching him I stood around like a useless idiot. I finally grabbed our bags from the lobby and brought them up to the room. The EMTs left, it was 7:45, 15 mins late for the bus.
We took the Wrestler back up to our room and I went out and bought some digestible cookies and some water. He went to sleep.
Turns out he had a low blood sugar attack. We decided to stay an extra night in Shiraz, so I used the time to write in my journal, hit a web cafe (down to 50 cents and 9 more days to go at this point) and watch a few episodes of 24 while he slept.
Between the plane, the lights at Hafez’s Tomb, and this I am getting a little worried...
... and in health
At around 6 he went to the doctor to get checked out. Upon return he told me that the doctor checked his heart and everything was okay. He got some medicine to keep his heart rate up, and bought a bunch of dates for his blood sugar. We still had to go purchase the bus tickets for tomorrow, so we packed up and went to the station.
Once complete the Wrestler said, “Now let’s go hit on some girls!” And that is what we did...
We went back to Hafez’s tomb and were lucky this time as their lights were on. We wandered around the grounds a bit and checked out the souvenir shop. Traditional Persian music is piped onto the grounds as people sat around reading Hafez poems and taking pictures.
At the back of the tomb there is a little tea shop. We searched for a table and chose one next to a woman who was sitting alone. Hey, that’s what men do.
The Wrestler went and got the tea while I sat and waited and not one minute since he returned, and before he said anything to me, he starts talking to the woman. In less than five minutes she is sitting with us and has given him her phone number! I was like double-you-tee-ef mate! Her name was Leyla. I asked her if she knew who Eric Clapton was and she said no.
She was wearing a ring on her finger so I asked her if she was married. She said no, and added that she was divorced. I asked her why she still wears the ring and she replied that the ring was a gift from another, more recent fellow. Once we got started talking she told us her story. A Tehrani, her parents are from Azerbaijan province in northern Iran. She can speak Farsi and Azeri. She was married at 14, having been promised since age 11, and had 2 kids before divorcing the guy at 21. He was 6 years older than her. 7 years later she lives alone and works in a factory. She likes the freedom of being single and doesn’t plan on ever getting married again. She told us that she doesn’t trust men. I asked her if it was easy to divorce. “Yes, much easier than before. Before a woman would go to court and it could take 5 or 6 years before a divorce went through. Now we can get it done in a month or two.”
Turns out in Iran they have a custom called mehriei (meh - ri - eh). Mehriei is a cash sum agreed upon by both parties prior to marriage that is to be paid by the husband upon divorce, regardless of which party initiated the divorce process. This is a law in Iran and point of much pre-marital negotiation. It also used to be that the children of a divorce would 100% go to the father’s household. This is no longer the case in Iran. Also, in addition to mehriei, women are entitled to 50% of household assets gained after being wed.
I asked how often she sees her kids. “About once every two months.”
I couldn’t believe that she was 29 and had a 15 year old son.
We talked for about an hour when she said that she had a plane to catch back to Tehran. We thanked her for her company and everyone shook hands. After she left me and the Wrestler sat and ate the chips she left, talked about how we both missed and wanted to call our significant others, then headed back to the hotel.