Last entry was too long so I had to split it up. If you are just seeing this one and havent read the first part on Iran, then read that part first.
Two more things I want to go into before I sign off. The geylyon and taroof. The geylyon AKA sheeshah in Arabic, AKA hookah, whatever you want to call it is a part of Iranian life. Kids use it as an outlet, a social gathering of sorts, and become experts in it. Everywhere you go you are within a spitting distance of a geylyon, tea, and dates. Its a great experience to share with someone, but whatever you do dont ask for a sheeshah in Iran. In farsi sheeshah means hashish which gets your hand cut off if you have some, so dont ask....
Ok, now onto taroof – this makes absolutely no sense to me and frustrates me. Taroof is the process of being overly kind. If you see a man on the street and he has bread and you ask him where he got it – he wont tell you. He will offer all of it to you, and tell you to take it. If you dont he will raise his voice. If you try three times and he is still in his same position you have to take it or you will offend him. The same goes for anything. Everything is free in Iran, or at least thats what you would think if you didnt know. Taxi drivers will tell you the ride is free, its on them. The hotel will be absolutely free because you are so kind. The food – shit, thats free too! You know its not so its only a game. The joke is if you go to buy something and they actually tell you the price. Most of the time the reaction is like “wait a minute, howcome your not going to taroof with me???”, like its offensive if you dont – its really funny.
My pop will tell you that Iranians are the biggest bullshitters in the world. They can talk and talk and talk – if you ever get invited to someones home they will talk till 4 in the morning without stopping about things you and I would consider worthless for discussion. But thats the Iranian spirit. They are passionate about everything – business, poetry, sports, life, the mountains, history, a beautiful girl, fruit, etc. and they love talking about it all. If you take a taxi, in all likelyhood you will hear about every single relative of the driver. He will go on to tell you about every single business transaction he has made in the past 20 years. He will then invite you to his house for tea to meet his family down to the third removed cousin. Its ridiculous! It makes me realize how cold we are in the states to strangers.
I will leave by sharing a wonderful saying I heard when I was over there – a wise man told me what he thought about the world, and summed it up by saying that Iranians have all the soul, but no freedom and that Americans have all the freedom but no soul. I really believe that...
Im in Singapore now, waiting for my Australian working visa to finish processing and then Im outtie 5000 to Perth. Australia has some of the most strict immigration policies in the world (next to the US). In case you didnt know it, the entire world wishes they were in the US, but we really let in only the smallest fraction. In all corners of this planet people have a burning desire to be in the US, but little do they know its not all that they imagined. I guess thats the way its been working for the past hundred years or so going back to the immigrants that came to Ellis Island. They were treated like shit, their careers disregarded, and were forced into decrepid housing. One hell of a paradise! The message is though that most of you reading didnt have to even lift a finger to be given a gift that has allowed you to live such a comfortable life. Dont take it for granted!
Im crying here because I have to fill some forms for oz, but at least I have a shot. Most folks who dream to come to America will never be able to.
Outside the Golestan Palace. This place was built a few hundred years ago as a guarded place where the Qajar King could keep his harem safe. He had a few hundred wives in this place! PIMPS UP - HOES DOWN! (thats a movie, and you should watch it....)
Inside the bazaar. They were giving out free food for anyone who wanted it.
This is where superman comes from
Me and the old man at dinner with mohandes (engineer) Rahimi and his family. For some reason I look like him in this picture... not happy about that one.
My pop the politician, and mohandes Rahimi – this guy spoke like 4 words of english but was all laughs throughout the day.
Mountains of Karaj, about an hour and a half outside Tehran. My fam used to own an orchard near here.
I dont heart snow!
View from one of the many parks just outside Tehran. In the summer its a great place to hangout and cool off and enjoy the fresh air.
View of mosque by the Tehran bazaar. The country is run by a few people who control the bazaar. You can buy anything in there. My pop used to sell thousands of tons of raw materials to make anything in there.
The street during Ashura which is the holy time that Shiite muslims remember the death of Imam Hossein in the battle of Karbala 1,400 years ago. Men carry large metal thingamajigs on their shoulders, and the others beat themselves with chains. The pain is supposed to be a reminder of Hosseins suffering. I remember they used to do it with swords, and would bleed all over the place but I didnt see any of that these days. They also slaughter sheep in the streets, and give out free food.
Funny mairrage ceremonial table with all the necessary offerings. All tradition.
Designed by a woman... use a little imagination guys.
This is the Azadi Tower in Tehran. Its famous for being the scene of demonstrations. It was designed by Farah, the Queen and wife of Shah Pahlavi.
Tehran skyline – huge mountains in the background. Tons of traffic, high rises, and cement factories (although not so evident in this picture).
Cool pic of guard trying to keep warm
Pics of green palace of Shah. The room with all the mirrors took 11 years to complete, and looks like they spent 10.99 years too long – looks tacky as hell to me.
I love Hinds! This one flies with an Iranian flag, but was captured during the Persian Gulf war. About 65% of the Iranian air force today was aquired when Iraqi warplanes flew over the border to escape coalition bombing during Gulf War I.
These legs are from a bronze statue that once stood of the Shah. Similar to that famous scene when the big statue of Sadaam was toppled in Baghdad the same happened in Iran in the 70s.
My pop with the US ambassador to Iran. He is a pretty affluential guy and has met John Rockafellar, Ahmedenijad on more than a handful of occasions, Khatami, and about every major minister in the govt. He holds fond memories of when the US was in the country and cherishes this photo.
Darya styling my shades. She is such an alligator!
On my way out of Tehran I was having a string of bad luck. I couldnt find a hotel for anything under $120, and I was down on my luck sitting in the lobby of this one place trying to figure out what to do. I saw some white dudes and started talking to them. These Russian tourists then took me in, gave me the hotel room they were in (they were leaving at 1AM), and then we drank homemade Russian hooch (90%) they snuck into the country and smoked a geylyon. These guys were cool. Now I have a hookup for when I head to Moscow!!! They told me its really expensive and shitty to go unless you know someone. Free hotel room, free booze, free geylyon - WIN, WIN, WIN!!!!
I have to be careful what I say because I might get in trouble for writing some of this so if you don't hear from me, Ive probably been snatched up by the Iranian popo!
This one is long. Sorry, but I have a lot to say. Later - B