Well my vacation is over! I’m back in the Western world, where Facebook is easily accessible and people actually stop at red lights. Oh it’s good to be home…I have to admit this trip made me realize I truly have adapted to my life in Canada. This was realized in the sweet moment i got out of the gate and a Canadian customs official said “welcome home” to us. It was definitely one of those moments when you forget about the PM you’d like to hate on, the fact that you’re a dual citizen and just accept the fact that you are now living on this side of the world.
So let’s get to the real deal..my trip back to IRAN!
As the plane landed at Imam Khomeini Airport all the women took out their scarves from their hand bags and hid their hair underneath. The guy next to us finished his bottle of red and muttered “the hijab is really unfair to the women in Iran” and with this said we stepped off the plane. My first stop slash discovery in Tehran was the washrooms…I have to share this with you because it really will shock you. The typical Iranian toilet is not what you’re used to here, on this side of the world. An Iranian toilet looks a lot like a big hole in the ground. You have to kneel and do your business and this will obviously be weird for those who are used to ‘toilet farangi’, which basically translates to ‘toilet from the west’. Farangi is a term used since the Qajar dynasty to refer to outsiders (Westerners). So when I went to the washrooms at Imam Khomeini Airport I was in for a bit of a shock – this is what being away from your homeland will do to you. My arrival in Tehran coincided with the NAM conferences ( Non-Aligned Movement), in which representatives from countries that are not aligned to any major powers gathered in Tehran to discuss nuclear power, the Arab movement and the state of the economy. Every 5 minutes there was a check point filled with soldiers but luckily no one stopped us – for a moment I honestly felt like I was in Iraq – it was actually quite scary to see so many soldiers on the streets. The government had made the few days of NAM a public holiday and asked people to go on vacation and leave the city. Tehran was somewhat quiet and empty, filled with slogans and ‘welcome to the Islamic Republic of Iran’ signs. There were lights everywhere and the city was clean.
My first shock came when I saw the many highways that the new mayor of Tehran has built. He’s actually in the middle of a new project now that is due sometime in the winter, building a 2 storey highway. Tehran is as beautiful, smoggy and noisy as it’s always been though. This city is much like Paris! filled with quartiers or various neighborhoods it’s always alive. You’ll be surprised to know that despite our lack of bars and clubs people are out at 2 am and the streets are filled with young boys and girls driving around in their cars looking for fun. Our metro system is impressive but the number of people using it makes it just as crowded of an option as any other (ie. bus or car) – traffic is still insane and driving – well if you’re from any other country than India i’d seriously recommend not even thinking about driving in Tehran. It’s a jungle out there and people are creating multiple lanes, coming at you from every angle imaginable! It’s almost like you’re at Wonderland – or Disney world on the most exhilarating roller coaster ride- this is how much excitement driving in Tehran will bring you. Motorists do not wear their helmets, rather they place them on their bike just to show that they own one! I worry for their safety more than they do…that’s for sure and as for the people…they’re living their lives as best as they can. Money has seriously lost its value in Iran…Our Afghan cleaner informed me that Afghan money is now worth more than Iranian money…we have bills with 0’s that will give you headaches…I was carrying around 50,000 toman bills- something i’ve never done before and the 100 toman bills are now antique!
My trip was short but so much happened and I saw so many things that I will have to write various posts to cover it all…so stay tuned for my next posts 🙂
Always on the look out for new topics so please drop me a line if you want a specific topic covered…
Lots of Love always,
- Ottawa erasing a legacy of good Canadian diplomacy (vancouverobserver.com)
- Tehran Ratz: Graffiti for a new Iran /street art (thepassengertimes.com)
- After Canada’s move, Iran expects more embassy closures in Tehran: Report (metronews.ca)
- Buying American in Tehran: Apples, razors and Coke (sacbee.com)
- Canada’s suspension of ties “hostile” decision: Iran (news.xinhuanet.com)