Published: November 18th 2006November 11th 2006
Welcome to Iran, where there are no atm's, at least not the kind that you can use as a foreigner. Which is a slight problem when you don't have anything else with you then 20 euro's cash. And the visa alone is 50 us dollars!!!
BUT......I was saved thanks to a good friend; BAHMAN.
When he heard that I went to iran for a couple of days he arranged for his family to pick me up. And what a lovely people!
The very first thing when we arrived in the appartment was a big meal. The Iranians definitely know how to eat. The rice comes with some very nice saffron rice and sweet barberries on top, and after a meal there is always the CHAY, tea, wich is served with chunks of sugar that you are supposed to put somewhere in between your front teeth and sip the tea through it. They can last pretty long with it, but for me it was slightly more difficult, it just melts.
The next day we visited some buildings that were inhabited by former royal family's.
I saw a bedroom that was covered in mirrors from wall to ceiling.
That must have been some waking up! I believe it's quite an historic site and it is set in a big park, right under the Alborz mountains, the only piece of green I saw in the area.
That evening they showed me the local mall, and we went to one of the traditional teahouses where we had some more chay, and ate dades, fruits I do not know by name, and ofcourse the Qaljan, or waterpipe.
That really was a great experience, they put fruit tabaco in the bottom, cover it with aluminium paper, and on top of that you put a glowing piece of compressed wood, and there you go!
The appartment where the family lived was in nortern Tehran, under the Alborz mountains, and after a taxi drive, we took the tele-cable, or skilift to the next station, wich was at 2410 meters above sea level. Because it's autumn now, the wind up there was really freezing, but the view was just absolutely amazing. Although the city is covered in a layer of smog, you can see incredibly far, and with a city of 12 million you can imagine the amount of urban sprawl just going
tehran by night
the view from the family's appartment
on for miles and miles.
The last day we went to the bazaar where they bought me a Qaljan of my own!! There weren't any tourists around in this part of town, at least as far as I could see, which was good for me. I noticed that there were tables full of bags of salt, wich was for everybody to take home. A snack that we tried was a cooked red beet, slightly warmed and then chopped in pieces for you to eat.
The whole thing was a great experience for me, and I would absolutely love to come back to Iran to travel around the country.
There are a lot of places that I'd like to visit, like the historic city of Esfahan, the train to Golestan and the south coast.
I know that Iran has been in the news quite a lot recently, and often in a negative way. And that is a shame because it is a great place, and the people are very friendly, even in a city of 12 million people. Definitely think about a stopover of a couple of days or so, wich can be a good introduction to a
The flight from Tehran to Bangkok was allright. I was amazed by the scenery from the airplane window flying out of Tehran, to me it just looked like one big desert, but one with rivers and snowcapped mountains. On arrival in Thailand, I could see that a vast area northwest of Bangkok was flooded, and we had to circle a thunderstorm which was hanging directly over the city. After a shower and some internet I went to search for my brother whom I hadn't seen for 2 years. Did eventually find him, and managed to wake up the next morning to pick up our sister from the airport.
Will be coming soon with an update about our travels in Thailand.
There are more photos below