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Entrance to Khan School, Shiraz

The best
In Shiraz you are painless

By Hamid Rafi
November 17, 1999
The Iranian

Shirazis are the best. Have you ever been to Shiraz? I was born in Tehran, but I consider myself a Shirazi. My mother is from Shiraz and that's enough for me to brag about it at parties, reunions and introductions. It gives me a good feeling. I am a Shirazi and I am proud of it.

I remember this girl I met once in Los Angeles and she was introducing herself to her American friend. "Hi I am Niloo. I come from Shiraz." So her friend assumed Shiraz is a newly independent state in the old Soviet Union or a city in France since she emphasized the "r " with a French accent.

Every year we would gather at our grandparents' house in Shiraz for eid and the new year holidays. The weather was milder. The food tasted better. People were nicer, and they were the most mehmoon navaaz. They still are.

Last year when I was in Shiraz, I took one of their green taxis to go to Shah Cheragh mosque and tour the city. When I wanted to pay for the ride, the driver would not accept any money. He knew I was from out of town.

Shirazis are the best. There have been jokes about Shirazis but this one is true. I went to Bazaar Vakil on a hot summer day to get a souvenir. I asked this dealer to give me something from his shelf; a piece of handicraft that I liked. He turned to me with a smile and said with a heavy accent: "Kako (brother) why don't you go to the store next door? They have the same piece and it's more accessible. I won't be able to go on a ladder now." I was amazed. What happened to customer service? Relax we are in Shiraz, I reminded myself.

Shiraz is the best. It was late afternoon and we had had our daily tea at my grandparents' house. Suddenly their wooden coffee table started to roll on its wheels. I was experiencing my first earthquake. But even the Shirazi earthquake was pleasant. My grandfather taught me how to pray when there is an earthquake.

Shirazis are the best. I was talking to my grandmother on the phone last week and she wanted me to know that there had been a survey about Shirazi girls. She said they are number one in the world when it came to sharing a happy life with a man. I believed her, but I did not ask about her sources.

Shiraz is a city full of character. It is a city but in a way it is also a small town. It has mountains but it is also flat. It is busy but it can get very calm.

How can I forget those mahtab parties at my great aunt's place under the Shiraz full moon? How can I forget the stars; the same stars Sadi and Hafez had gazed at? The smooth evening weather there is the essence of life, the window to pleasure. In Shiraz you are painless.

The Shiraz I remember is always beautiful, calm, joyful, refreshing and mesmerizing. Let's keep it that way. Long live Shiraz and its nice people, including my mother's family and relatives.

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