National Geographic : 1961 Jan
so as not to break a single egg. Precisely he measured 44 grams of salt for each kilo gram of eggs. "Now, the mixing!" whispered Nabavi at the crucial moment. "Too little, and the salt is not distributed-the caviar spoils. Too much, and he crushes eggs - second-grade caviar." The expert mixed just right. He scooped up a spoonful of the glistening beads and mur mured, "B efarmaid"- "Please." I must admit my experience with caviar had been infrequent. But even in this perfect product, not five minutes out of the fish, I detected none of the ambrosia others have raved about. The sad truth remains that I just do not like caviar. "Kheli khoob," I said in my best guidebook Farsi. "Very good." Mr. Nabavi was undeceived by my forced smile, but took it philosophically. "You will come back again, and we will go hunting," he offered in mingled French and English. "Near here we have fine shoot ing for the savage ducks!" Esfahan Bazaar Winds for Miles An old Persian saying claims that "EQfahan is half the world." "I think we've brought the other half with us," said Tom as he tugged his photographic gear out of our jeep, crammed with luggage, sleeping bags, and gas and water cans. No flowers beckoned his cameras on the Chahar Bagh-the Four Gardens laid out by the 17th-century builder-king, Shah Abbas. That stately promenade was paved for traffic and flanked by jubes, the open water supply ditches still in use in some Iranian cities and most villages and towns. But no matter. Esfahan's flowers bloom Three times the size of France, with less than half its population, Iran stretches across deserts and mountains from Iraq to Afghanistan, from Caspian Sea to Persian Gulf. Map traces eight thousand miles of travel by GEOGRAPHIC writer Linehan and photographer Abercrombie (far left), who stop their jeep for roadside tea. Diacritical marks that appear on many Iranian place names indicate Persian letters that differ from their closest English equivalents. The letter "a," for example, represents a Persian vowel spo ken as in "all"; a plain "a" stands for a different vowel, pronounced as in "hat." The letter "i" is spoken as in "machine." Without such marks the town of Na'in, in the center of the map, might seem to rhyme with "cane"; with them, it is "nah-een."