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November 18th 2000
Published: November 1st 2005
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We leave the Laleh in the middle of the night and Mr. Hoseyn drives us through the quiet streets to Mehrabad Int'l Airport where we must bid farewell and enter the departure hall (men to the left, women to the right). Wanting to exchange my remaining rials I realize too late that I have packed my currency exchange receipt into the checked in bag but am told that I should give it a try anyway. Walking up to the counter the clerk's head suddenly disappears from view as he bends down putting his head on the desk and muttering something. Before I realize what is going on it comes back into view again for a short while only to disappear again. I cannot make my mind up if he is praying or dozing off. As he is finally finished he of course promptly refuses to accept my cash.

This time we will finally fly the Boeing 747SP, and as we walk the tarmac in the first morning light to board the aircraft a young blonde girl takes a snap of it, and is immediately swarmed by armed soldiers who rip the film out of her camera. The flight back to Stockholm is uneventful, the nonchalant purser does not allow me to visit the cockpit (and mutters something abot khareji) so I have to make do with a view of Mt. Ararat from my seat. Back in Stockholm the weather does it utmost to welcome us home, the rain drizzling down from the grey sky. Why do trips always have to end like this?


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