where are all the Ali Babas?

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Said goodbye to my friend Borzoo today:

Borzoo

Then I walked through the sunshine in Behshahr:

mosque in Behshahr

Passed a toy store:

toy store

And a propaganda mural that warned seemed to warn of evil forces grabbing girls by their school uniforms:

propaganda mural

When I took a closer look, it seemed to be more of an advertisement than a warning:

propaganda mural detail

I didn’t have to walk far today, just to a village ten or fifteen kilometers outside of the city. My friends had family there. So I decided to avoid the highway and find my way through the villages instead:

road through the villages

These gentlemen stopped me and warned me to not go any further:

the warners

There were bad things ahead, they said. Bad? I asked in my limited Farsi. “Ali Baba”, they said, and one of them made a gesture of someone emptying his pockets.

Bandits.

In the end we agreed that I could walk on but that I would have to be careful, leave my cameras in their bags, and avoid talking to bad people.

The road was quiet, and the clouds hung heavy from the sky:

where is Ali Baba

Somewhere in the distance, some people were burning stalks on the fields:

people burning stuff

It turned out to be a very nice way to walk:

Caboose

There were some people, but they were all very friendly.

These two gentlemen posed for a photo and offered me Cheetos:

men with Cheetos

I eventually did find a bunch of bandits, but they were mostly fifteen years old:

Ali Babas

When I reached the village of Gorji Mahalle, the first thing I saw was a sign with Georgian script:

Georgian script in Gorji Mahalle

It was an old Georgian village.

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