Another day in Iran

September 10, 2008by Brenda Pierce

Subject: Iran Travel #2

Hellooo Tehraaannnnn, (shades of Robin Williams)

Another great day of travel to many museums and surrounds of Tehran. This morning we visited Saad Abad complex where 18 historical royal palaces have now been turned into various museums. We didn’t see them all, however we did see the Farshcian Museum consisting of Mr. Maumoud Farxhician’s exquisite paintings many based upon Persian stories and fables. The painting are quite fanciful and colorful and meticulously drafted.

The complex is located farther to the north of the city in a higher elevation, with the temperature feeling more pleasant. London Plane trees are everywhere here and in the center of Tehran. It is the dominant tree as are larger junipers.

Yesterday, we did get to see the ceramics museum, the glass museum, and the carpet museum. If it sounds like we are seeing a lot of museums we are. From my experience, I think this is typical for countries to put their best foot forward to show their cultural histories and accomplishments. It also is a way to insure tourist dollars are coming into the approved places. And while, as with any tour, it can feel like we are being lead from place to place, at no time does it feel like we are being kept track of or being discouraged to explore. In fact, from the guide books there is some good trekking to be had in the mountains surrounding Tehran. You can certainly travel here without an organized tour, though you will want a guide unless you are a seasoned traveler up for an adventure.

Bahman, our guide, has mentioned drugs are becoming an issue in Tehran. This shouldn’t be a big surprise considering that drugs have made it into every major city in the world. Why should Tehran be exempt? But, it certainly isn’t on the scale that it is in Savannah, for instance. Violent crime is not an issue throughout most of Iran. If there is violent crime it probably occurs along the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq as you might expect.

We are here during Ramadan where people are fasting everyday. People fast from dawn to dusk, then break fast in the evenings. It is not compulsory to fast though it seems that people want to honor the holiday, like we would honor Christmas. It is time spent with family. But, business continues and if a Muslim can’t fast because of travel or another commitment, he/she can do it at another time.

There a mixing attitudes from what I can discern about the women’s dress. Women do not wear burkas contrary to a common held belief in the States. They are required to cover themselves in gowns of their choosing, and head scarves. But, their hands and feet are visible, and now even are letting their hair be exposed. Also, they have no trouble expressing their individuality or even sensuality in the way they wear there clothes. Some even wear more shear coverings, though this is met with some suppression for some, but not all of the authorities. What I understand may be happening is that the police see these pretty women, make them come down to the station to be closer to them. Same man / woman relationship going on for centuries.

Our meals are very good, consisting of chicken and lamb on top of rice. Barely soup with lemon is common. And fish, either fried or filleted is a main item.

This is enough for now I think, I’ll be in touch again soon, if not tomorrow then the next day. -Dane

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