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Published: March 7th 2016
After 5 hours drive on the VIP bus from Esfahan, we are at the door of Tehran. Esfahan and Shiraz are gorgeous little provincial cities...Tehran is a monster, with anything between 13 to 18 millions inhabitants! The place is overcrowded with old cars, lots of them being french built, resulting in very bad pollution in winter time! That's due to the old cars...not the french side!
Cities in Iran are mainly built on the slopes of mountains. This means amazing views from the cities themselves...but also that the pollution in winter cannot escape....resulting in pretty unbearable conditions for the capital of Tehran. So we took 5 hours to reach the outskirts of Tehran, and it took us two more hours just to reach the North bus station.
Tehran is built on a slope. At the summit of it, some ski slopes, some of the highest in the world just above 4000 meters...not bad specially if you don not have a car to go around. The more you head north, the nicest the city is, and this truly shows the social and economic cleavages of the capital . The Shah family used to have their "country
side" palaces just north of the city in the suburb of Tajrish.
This time, I'm welcomed by a great friend of a great friend! The next 48 hours are simply going to be amazing....and nothing like you would think Iran is about. I did choose not to go with my camera around for places "behind private doors" for the next two blogs. I decided not to take pictures of my friend and his friends. This site is public, and I have no intention to put friends under any kind of trouble. You will see the tourist pictures of Tehran...and read about what is happening behind the scene!
I arrived at the bus station at 7pm, and was still a short 30 minutes to my new friend place. The rule in Tehran is simple, the more north of the city you are....the nicest the place is...well, 99.5% of the city is below his flat! We settle, and he asked me if I'm ready for a drink! Yes thanks...welcome to a world where you can have everything...it's just done behind close doors...and a bottle of Black Label is just four time the price you would pay
it anywhere else in the free world. Let's put it simply....a diplomat explained pretty well the situation this week. "Tehran would be unbearable would it not be for the level of chaos and corruption". They can claim themselves Islamic...corruption and chaos does rule here...allowing the same Islamic state elite...to import under the radar all the booze needed by the more open elite in the country (that also goes for pork...or any illegal substance anywhere in the world) !
By 9.30pm, we had a table at the fanciest restaurant of Tehran, owned by a friend of my friend, with who we would ski two days later. Small world...and the place look more like any super fancy restaurant in London, NY or Shanghai. Here too you see many hairs...but forget about any wine or alcohol....that's only behind closed and private doors! Food was pretty nice....the place was gorgeous...and people looking was pretty fun!
Next morning, nice breakfast, amazing views for that breakfast...and we went on a ride down Tehran. It's funny to check that you need to equalize your ears all the time in Tehran, as you go from 2000 meters high to close to 1000
meters at the foot of the city. We drove by the former US Embassy. Yes, you have seen the movie Argo....not the best time for Iran in 1979. But put it simply...today Iran is secured and safe for most to live in...as long as you keep few things...behind private doors! Took few pics of the walls of the building. You can visit it from 2nd till 11th Feb every year...bad planning on my side, we are the 12th! Interesting to drive by....with actually close friends to the Shah etourage!
My friend drop me to continue my day on my own. I would spend some time in the gorgeous Golestan Palace. See the two paintings of near naked women. Was pretty interesting to find those here....don't forget, this building was built way after the 7th century! Some Muslims were clearly way more open to nudity in the past! Or is it still the same, do not forget, the biggest usage of porn internet, is still done, in strict religious countries, you can guess of with religion I'm speaking! What is done behind closed doors!
I spent some time at the Friday Souq.Huge flea market done
in a huge multi-level car park. Took also the very cheap metro after lunch all the way to the north of Tehran in Tajrish suburb. My afternoon was spent visiting the Sa'd Abad Museum. This place is a huge park at the northern tip of Tehran. It houses few homes and palaces, some converted into museum, or kept as such as the former country residences of the Shah family. Place was gorgeous, but even more fun to see all those young couples holding hands, and more hairs too...the basijis don't seem to make their way here. The basiji are the "moral police"...those people annoying the Iranians on the Islamic values and behavior. One thing for sure, this is not Saudi Arabia....how would I know if a Saudi woman is gorgeous or not....in Tehran it's easy, the scarf is very often only here for the show, covering very little of the hairs!
By 6pm, after walking miles today, I was back to my friend place. Next stop is just an hour drive from Tehran, but I'm clearly on another planet! Iran, you are so full of surprises! Today was amazing...and as always, Iranians are amazing people!
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