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Published: September 27th 2005
Today's weather is cloudy and a bit dull. We spend all day sightseeing various cultural and even more cultural sights of Tehran. We've been around a couple of museums with exhibitions of pottery, historical utensils, statues or parts of statues, all in various stages of decay. It's not my cup of tea really, although I found the exquisite and decorative Qurans to be quite beautiful. After having successfully learnt to say "good morning" I realize that any further development in Farsi will be requiring some dedication on my part. Farzaneh explains the mysteries of the language; it seems that in order to simplify things for the curious westerner, the written language completely omits vowels, instead fusing characters together into syllabels that link into each other and modify to tie together to form different words. Did I mention I know how to say "good morning"?
We drive past the abandonded British Embassy, a popular staging ground for anti-western demonstrations. Our driver today is a young man called Iman, he thinks that the Bergmans (the elderly couple) are my grandparents and that they have dragged me here against my will. It seems people both inside and outside of Iran have reached an
agreement; I'm a moron. We stop for lunch at a buffet where there's lots of nice things, although nothing really special. I am told that in Iran, the best food is not served in the restaurants, but in the close company of family and friends. This is also my first encounter with the dreaded "Look ma, there's a hole in the floor" squatter toilet.
In the afternoon we go have a look at the Shah's old crown jewels in a very tightly secured exhibition hall. Personally I never quite grasped the hyped interest in shiny lumps from the ground, but am happy to get a closer look at the Kalashnikovs slung over the shoulders of the guards instead. We then do like the Tehranis like to do in their spare time, drive up to the mountains to get out of the city. Normally this would be a place to escape the heat, but today's climate doesn't make that necessary, in fact it is a little bit chilly, and with the rain slowly falling the parks really do not get a chance to show off their best views.
We're having a straight forward dinner at a small restaurant close
A day in the park
Sorry, the weather really was miserable today.
to the hotel. My travel companions are making reflections on the price levels of various things and find some of the requirements of the Islamic Republic a bit taxing. Farzaneh is curious about who does the cooking for me in my hometown, I think she finds the fact that I stay on my own a bit amusing and weird. We also talk a bit about western music, the gossiping culture of some of her friends and the policies of Khatami. Iman is mainly smiling wryly in my direction.
On the way back to the hotel an amusing exchange takes part while we are waiting at a red light. Iman leans out of the window and shouts enthusiastically to the driver in the car to our left. An intensive discussion follows and Farzaneh explains that he has taken a liking to the rear view mirrors of the other car and is offering the other driver a trade. Their exchange of phone numbers seems to indicate success on his part.
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