Posts Tagged ‘Tehran’
Thank you Tehran Bureau!
this is my 1st time on broad band in the Islamic Repubic of Iran! I am downloading a few images/sound/video before i head off on bike tomorrow (in Sh’Allah!). Truth be told, i have done my best to download video & sound with no success. Even though I am at a 5 start hotel’s business center not having any luck with it, you just never know… i may get lucky on dial up in some teensy village in the mountains.
Posted on June 29th, 2008 by admin. Filed under Iran.
Two days ago I awoke to Tabassom asking me “Did you hear the bombing!?” I was still half-asleep. She asked again, “The bombing- did you hear it at 5:00?” Well, no in fact I did not hear the bombing. In my sleepy stupor I worried for an instant that Israel made good on their recent threat to attack iran. Tabassom brought me to the kitchen which is normally a sleek classy white space- the sort of space used in Arab TV commercials selling stuff like Knorr. However, this particular morning purple was splattered all over the place, tie-dying the white fabric of the kitchen chairs; the marble floor feeling like it had been covered in glue. By “bombing” Tabassom cutely meant “explosion.” Apparently, some seltzer water was mixed with berries and berry juice in a plastic bottle, which after sealed several hours in this heat, it became a home-made berry-bomb in our kitchen. I love little words like “bombing” this which have nuanced meaning. I know when I speak in say Spanish I say things like this all the time (and much much worst) constantly confusing and alarming my Spanish speaking friends and passers-by. Another example of this was last nite we were watching Eurocup while a local brand of rice commercial kept coming on which is named after a very common man’s name here. Last year i made a *slight* indiscretion here with a man by that very name and now this rice commercial acts as reminder to all my friends that they can make fun of me, making kissy noises whenever they see me while singing this rice company’s jingle. So I go and give it right back to them, making up men they may have had romance with. I scrammbled so far as to say that one woman had romance with a doctor while she was in the hospital- the stuff western daytime soaps are made of, not real-life Tehranis. My friend’s friend responded with laughter exclaiming “What do you think she is? a bitch?!” This cracked me up. I knew what she meant, but it is so adorable when language is used this way. I love it.
Tabassom finished her exams yesterday. That meant last nite we went out on the town- this time the town being the nearby Alborz Mountains. It reminded me so much of LA in so many ways. The view of twinkling Tehran at nite was identical to the view of LA, the traffic barely inching by. In all that LA-ness, we went to an outdoor cafe, which reminded me of a German biergarten gone Middle-Eastern. It was set in a garden with circular areas covered in Persian carpets where Northern Tehran’s glamorites come to smoke hookah, and casually lounge co-ed decked in their finest fake Gucci and D&G brands. Most were on dates, the ladies with very elaborate hair doos and make-up jobs. Many mantous were transparent, if not skin-tight; headscarves delicately perched back on the head, scarf dragging below their bosoms, so that their neck, etc- could be seen. I remember when I first came to Tehran last year- because of the circles I run in here, I thought this sort of fashion was the norm. I in fact felt quite conservative in dress, in comparison. Not until I ventured out to different parts of Iran did I realize that N. Tehran is an anomaly, and most certainly not the norm. Dressing like that in another town, like Shiraz or Esfahan will certainly assure that the fashion- police (ladies in chadors) will come to scold and adjust you, just as it happened to me in Esfahan for wearing bright colors, and beaming red lipstick. Last nite was fun, we smoked hookah, talked, and mostly I gawked at the unique fashion all around me, especially at the boys with the ridiculously skin tight t-shirts and hair that swallowed at least an entire bottle of hair gel to maintain such 80-s like styles.
Any free chance I get these days I gawk and stare at the five maps of Iran I have acquired since arriving. Finding a comprehensive map was a challenge so I have to use five to assess altitude, distances, accommodations, road conditions, and overall bike-ability. Originally, I wanted to ride from Astara on the border of Azerbaijan to the near the border of Afghanistan in Tayab. I planned to go into Afghanistan after that (by bus) to visit the ancient city of Herat. However, after much talk with people here I think going to Afghanistan is now out of the question : ( I went to my country’s embassy to register that I am in fact here today. I told the secretary about my plans, and she then inquired with the Ambassador about my plans. He then invited me to his office to chat about why I am here, how friendly Iranians are, and the various areas experiencing some sort of strife right now. Basically, Iran is safe- but areas around it are not, and that, of course, sometimes spills into border areas. For example, there is sometimes gunfire in the Kurdish areas near Iraq, and tourists (even cyclists) have been kidnapped near the borders of Pakistan. From what I have read, these are usually amature kidnappers, but it seems that in places like Afghanistan, the amature people will then “sell” you to someone like the Taleban to make some money. The Taleban are rich from the poppy/drug business, and we already know what they want with the kidnapped; it’s not money. These sobering details, combined with my recent bad dreams about going to Afghanistan made me decide against it- that is unless I get some posh secure invite to Kabul or the likes where I can fly in & fly out; as most kidnappings happen on the physical road. Several people have told me that they have not met any women who have cycled alone in Iran and that there may be some areas where it is forbidden to be a woman on a bike, more-less a lone woman on a bike. point taken- if that is the case I will take the bus to the next town and resume biking from there. I still plan to leave here on Tuesday (Wednesday?) but am trying to meet up with some other cyclists- find more info & solidify my route. I already have some excellent Tehrani biker connections : ) but there is also French cyclist here rite now, as well as a Japanese fellow who has been biking for peace for 10 years now! He has covered over 120,000 miles- Incredible!!! Check him out: www.daisukebike.be I will meet up with all of them tonite at a lecture here in Tehran about “eco-tourism.” Should be interesting!
Arrived to Tehan yesterday. Staying with my dear friends I stayed with last summer, the sophisticated and glamorous Tabassom & Shirin… fantastic people! Already they are taking such good care of me that they are no doubt spoiling me for what is to come- what am i going to do when i start to ride? who is going to take care of me then? j/k- i will. I met up with a friend of a biking friend here, Bijan, who is hands down the most “bikey” person in Tehran (in my opinion). He rides about 90K a day in this ferocious city’s traffic. He voluntarily came over today to put my bike together & then he sent a mechanic to work on my derailer which got a bit eff-ed up in transit. Again, the epitomy of Persian hospitatlity- this is all free. I told him how much they charge back in the States for boxing bikes- and Bijan nearly fell over. Tomorrow i am going to try to ride 40 miles around Tehran– traffic here is incredibly crazy & dangerous. I have seen cars rding n sidewalks, for example. So after about 20 miles of urban mish-mash, I am going to seek some refuge in a new park that is for use of women only- this means all us ladies can go there, and exercise headscarf-free, mantou-free; i can even wear just bike shorts! Today Tabassom sewed one of her extra headscarfs onto my helmet, so i have no choice in the headscarf bit- i will still have it, which i think is good- i have to get used to dealing with the heat while biking. The plan is to set sail from here on Tuesday once i get over my monthly visitor who arrived this morning ; ) I am on dial up rite now- eventually i will get to some broad band to send photos, sound, video… just wanted to check in & let you know I am here! Oh, i have a new mobile # here if you want to call me: +0098-936-119-7758 (12 hours ahead of CA, 9 ahead of NY, 6 ahead of the UK).
- Some photos from Misrata… stories to follow.
- The Boat to Misrata (Libya): Men’s quarters vs. Women’s quarters
- Why I had to visit Misrata (Libya).
- Greetings from Benghazi, Libya
- Just another day in Cairo…