Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yazd's Earth, Wind and Fire

FAQ #6: Is it a dry country?!! They do have alcohol, don't they? (This question came primarily from my bar buddies.)

A: I'm sure they do.  They tell me they do. I heard many a story about house parties where contraband spirits flow, but with the exception of some homemade hooch that a local guide offered me early in the trip, the ban of all things alcoholic appears to be working all too well (at least for the non-connected visitor).  I went to veg restaurants, art galleries and every other place I could think of where a non-religious drinking-type person would hang out (in other words, my usual scene) but did not encounter anything stronger than near beer.

In lieu of actual ales, most stores and restaurants sell something called "Islamic beer" ( aka 0% alcohol near beer), which is essentially a malt soda.  A quick tip: when someone points to a particular brand and tries to tell you that it tastes like real beer, be assured that this person has not had beer in a very long time.  But if you want a golden-colored beverage, served in a frosty glass, it will do the trick and thus, it became my go-to beverage for those 17 days of forced sobriety.

That is not to say that I abandoned hope on finding an underground speakeasy right around the corner.  I thought that the isolated, relatively liberal no-head-scarf requiring caravanserai might be willing to break a rule or two, but I was wrong.  My expectations then turned to our next stop, the quiet desert town of Yazd.  That was a (dry) wash as well but it compensated by providing a great base for exploring some really cool nearby sights.