From castle to cottage

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Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran
November 6th 2000
Published: September 27th 2005
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The last day in Tehran for a while, we will be transferring by plane to Shiraz in the afternoon. The morning is spent visiting one of the Shah's excessively decorated palaces in the hills. Big airy halls with some rather decadent furniture and very large Persian carpets in the rooms. We are joined by crowds of school children out on tour, and the young children either look at you shyly or, if they are more courageous take the opportunity shouting "I love you!" from a safe distance.

The next destination is the complete opposite and immensely to my liking. We drive into a neighbourhood with smaller houses and narrow streets to visit the house of Ruhollah Khomeini, the humble place where he used to live and see his guests, as well as the nearby building where he held many famous speeches. A small nearby museum has a number of interesting paintings including my favourite, where he is making tea in the kitchen. The staff is delighted as I run around taking pictures, I bet they wonder what I am doing here too.

The weather continues to be grey and chilly. After lunch we head to Mehrabad International again where we say farewell to Iman and his grey Volkswagen T4. Men and women have spearate entrances where everyone is carefully stip searched by two guards before being allowed inside. The airport is a good spot for people spotting, there are plenty of mullas around, and it is always just as bewildering to see women in dark chador running around with walkie talkies. I make my first purchase and buy a map of Tehran, how incredibly useful now that I am about to leave... The domestic flight costs something like 20 USD one way and Iran Air deploy a Fokker 100 for the leap southward to Shiraz.

As we disembark in Shiraz we are greeted by Mr. Hoseyn who is waiting for us with an old Mitsubishi L300. We head directly for the Parsifan Hotel, which - although only rated three stars - has more comfortable beds, a dry rug and a minibar full of cheap stuff. On the downside is a smaller bathroom and no view, but I am most happy about the fact that all the wall sockets are compatible with the common standard European/Asian two pin plugs. Oh, those small joys of life.

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From the House of Khomeini collection

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