Published: June 2nd 2011
June 2nd 2011
I never thought I would ever have had the opportunity to go to Middle East, but in late April I had the chance through work to go to Iran, Dubai of the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. I think I was the only one in the office to actually agree to visiting these places, but I’m glad I did as it really is an eye opener to visit these countries.
On Easter Sunday, I headed to Copenhagen Airport and flew via Istanbul in Turkey to Tehran in Iran. There are certain dress rules in Iran, so before getting off the plane, I had to cover my hair (not completely, but it is the law that women cover their heads) and of course I’d made sure I was wearing appropriate attire (long sleeve shirt, trousers and over the top you need to wear a dress or jacket-like attire that covers your bum. You’ll see in the photos what I’m talking about!
Tomas (my work colleague) and I were met by the local distributor and spent 3 nights/4 days in Tehran. There was a large Audiological conference there, where I gave some presentations on Vestibular testing, Auditory Steady-State Responses and Real
Ear Measurements.....luckily I can do this as know about the entire Interacoustics product range and related tests :)
Iran was not what I had imaged. There is so much in the news that really makes you believe it to be unsafe, that women are oppressed etc. I certainly felt very respected and it appeared that the men were quite respectful to women I saw there. Of course they don’t have the same freedoms as we do in the western world, but the people there generally seemed very happy, were friendly and I really enjoyed my time there. I also managed to get a hold of some really cool Iranian techno music....great to dance too!
Next was Dubai, which is the total opposite to probably most Middle East countries. It’s a skyscraper town built in the desert! Everything is so modern and relatively clean. On landing at the airport, women remove their headscarves, change their clothes to fit with the modern fashion and lifestyle.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see much outside the hotel where I gave a two day seminar on Vestibular testing and Auditory Evoked Potential testing, but Tomas whisked me around in a taxi on
our final day so I could at least see some of the sights. We also had a lovely dinner with some friends of his (he used to work in Dubai) and caught a fountain-light show.
Beirut in Lebanon was the next stop, and I must say, the Lebanese food we ate on our final night there was to die for! Beirut is a mixture of old and new in both architecture and culture and was probably the least safe of the three places were visited. There were lots of army personal on the streets in the middle of town on the final night (thanks Obama for killing Osama during our stay).
Overall, I am really thankful that I got to visit these places and I hope the opportunity might come again. I definitely need to fly via Istanbul again to pick up some delicious Turkish Delight.
So, with the Middle East trip being over, I was back at work for a couple of weeks before heading to Tokyo, Japan. It was great to be able to use my Japanese again and surprisingly I did quite well given that it’s been 16 years since I lived there. I
managed to catch up with a friend who lives outside Tokyo, thanks JC for putting up with me while shopping in Akihabara “Electric Town”. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to go up to Hokkaido to visit my homestay family and other friends there. Hopefully Dan and I can make a trip back there sometime, so I can show him where I lived and introduce him to Okaasan and Otoosan.
The next big things coming up in the calendar, are Megan and Michael’s arrival tomorrow afternoon. Our first Aussie visitors! Really looking forward to catching up after being away for 6 months. The Dan and I are off to Oslo on 10th June and Copenhagen on 17th June for a weekend of sightseeing.
There are more photos below