As we landed in Tehran, Robyn joined
all the other women putting on a veil. On the advice of
our travel guide book, Robyn was also wearing a very conservative
'Shalwar Kameez' that she had gotten years ago in Pakistan.
As it turned out, she attracted a fair bit of attention
in Iran for being the only person wearing such an old fashioned
costume — all the women in Tehran looked very hip
with nice shoes, jeans, black coats that went just below
the butt and fashionable head scarfs. In any case, the
veil got a little tiring after a couple weeks,
Robyn had to get dressed head to toe every time she stepped
out of our hotel room, even to go 5 feet down the hallway
to use a shared bathroom.
The people in Iran were extremely friendly. Unlike many
muslim countries, the women often approached Robyn when
I wasn't around. Like many countries, they always wanted
to know where we were from. On this trip, the correct answer
was 'Australia', since I wasn't traveling on my US passport
and didn't want to attract any undue attention from the
We visited the museums of Tehran, the traditional houses
of Kashan, the mosques, tea houses and bridges of Esfahan,
the desert city of Yazd and Darius the Great's ruins of
Persepolis near Shiraz. Everywhere, Iran's signature blue
tiled mosques were unique to us and some of the most beautiful
that we have seen. In Tehran it was erie to walk around
the old US embassy, you can still see the US eagle on the
front gate. Across the street is a disturbing museum dedicated
to all the 'martyrs' of the Iran-Iraq war. It consists
of dozens of display cases, one for each 'martyr'. Each
display case contains their personal effects, usually including
the bloody shirt they died in. On a less depressing note,
we visited the massive mausoleum complex being built to
house the grave of Khomeni. I was surprised we were allowed
in, but no one paid any attention to us. They were all
too busy picnicing, napping, playing (if they were kids)
When leaving Tehran,
an English speaking cab driver drove us to the bus station.
He explained that he worked as a Hawk missile instructor
with the American military in Iran for 8 years prior to
the revolution. He continued to work for the Iranian military
in the same capacity throughout the Iran-Iraq war. I asked
him if they ran out of American missiles — I
was interested to know if they continued to get them from
the US after the revolution. However, he laughed and said
'no problem, the Shah bought a lot of missiles!'
Esfahan is everyones favorite city in Iran. It has a spectacular
central square ringed by 2 beautiful mosques and a palace.
We also had a great time wandering along the river between
tea houses based at each of the cities famous bridges.
On average, I drank about 45 cups of tea a day in Iran
because (obviously) there is nothing alcoholic to drink
(even Coke is hard to find) and there is zero else to do
after sunset. We slept and read a lot!
In Esfahan we also visited the Armenian Orthodox Cathedral.
The interior of this 400 year old church was covered with
gruesome paintings depicting various kinds of torture from
the cliche (disembowelment and eye gouging) to the novel
(inverted water enima).
The food in Iran was terrible! We read that Iranian food
in the home is excellent, but the only thing available
in restaurants was fatty kebabs with no spices and bland
soups and stews- Iranians apparently don't like spice.
:( Robyn cried one night when we got a dinner she couldn't