Thursday, June 21, 2007

Khodafez Iran!

So after 5 weeks Anth and I are spending our final night in Iran in a lovely little town called Maku about 25km from the Turkish border. There have of course been the inevitable ups and downs as with every country. Firstly the downs:
  • Pretty much anything associated with the moronic mullahs and their puppet government
  • The occasional bouts of narrow mindedness and absence of creativity that come from looking backwards and being shackled to a glorious historical legacy (also see "But we built Angkor Wat!" mentality in Cambodia)
  • The complete lack of vegetarian food for Anth

Despite these factors, we think its safe to say that our time in Iran has been one of the most overwhelmingly positive travel experiences we have ever had. We did quite a bit of research before we came here, but like most people in the West we had our fair share of misconceptions. Based on our experiences in the last 5 weeks, we would like to declare that:

  • Iran is safe (crazy driving on the roads excepted)
  • A large percentage of the population do not go to the mosque regularly
  • Iranians HATE to be grouped with Arabs
  • There are a lot of women that are pushing the limits of hijab (and looking very fashionable to boot)
  • Iranians do not have a blanket hatred for Jews

Socio-cultural and political misconceptions aside, Iran also has some incredibly stunning historical sites and a deep reverence for old fashioned culture (we have never met so many literature and theatre students before) that is almost quaint. From a selfish point of view, the ridiculous oil subsidies (prices have just increased from 8 to 10 cents per litre) that are crippling the government economically (inflation is waaay out of control now) make travelling in Iran VERY cheap on the fantastic trains and buses. Another gift from the government is their crackpot policies and isolationism which has driven other tourists away and made locals even more eager to engage with us.

So, as a final word we would like to ask every reader of this blog to think about one day travelling to Iran or encouraging your friends and family to visit this wonderful place. Its been a privilege for us to witness and experience Iran and its people first hand, and it has further underlined what an absurd tragedy it would be if major sanctions were imposed.

PS - we have a few more Iran posts up our sleeves which we hopefully get to non-chronologically in Turkey.

4 comments:

jLo said...

Your Iran posts have been amazing, you guys. It's definitely on my list now.

Anonymous said...

id travel naked up the arse of an inflatable cat if i had any fucking money.

tim

Samo Umer said...

Wow, you dared to visit Iran, hats off. They don't impale jews? Wow, I guess Fox news was wrong...

"Enlightened westerners" like you should just fix your little pet project called Iraq before mouthing off against "the mullahs". But I know - you're "open minded" and you just can't help yourself not to uplift those who are "closed minded"...

Mike said...

Hi,

Just got back two weeks ago from my second trip to Iran in two years -- just as amazing as the first. I toured the western area, from Tabriz to Khorramshar, and was continually blown away by the friendliness and hospitality of the Iranian people toward me. Robert Gates just said this week that more Americans should go there: I hope he goes with Condi!