Posted by: Sheridan Flynn | March 16, 2008

Iran (so far)

Like many people around the world I considered Iran to be a inhospitable, dry, steeped in Islam, and full of rocks. For as far back as I can remember (the early 80s) when ever Iran was mentioned in the media it was usually in relation to a war, economic sanctions, religious revolution or some kind of diplomatic disaster. While Iran was never on my to-do list I was instantly intrigued when I heard it was part of the Ozbus trip. Aside from all the negative press, the fact remained that I knew very little about this mysterious country. I had even read the lonely planet guide, scrutinised wikipedia, and I still knew nothing.

 

As I sat in the bus at the border, only a few metres away from Iranian soil I realised that I had very few expectations of Iran and practially no knowledge of Persian culture. I did however, have a strange mix of fear and excitement in my stomach. The kind of feeling you get before you go on a horrifying fairground ride. Beyond the electronic a massive billboard of two very serious looking dudes gazed back at me. Imam Khomaini the supreme leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution and Imam Khameniei the current supreme leader. Neither looked particularly friendly. Bellow them a sign in gold writing read “Wel come to the Islamic Republic of Iran”. I wondered to myself weather the spelling error was an act of defiance or a genuine mistake.

 

Through a couple of hours of form filling, a few metres of red tape, general banter between the passengers, and some people watching, we slowly lurched forward into Iran. We disembarked the bus and entered a dark, crowded, smokey, holding area. Old men in grey suits, young children clinging to their mothers, dapper guys in denim with slick hair, and dark eyed women dressed from head to toe in black all watched us as we walked across the floor. Sketchey geezers hovered around us holding huge wads of blue Iranian bank notes looking to exchange some euros.

 

We boarded the bus again and journeyed a couple of kilometers before we stopped for lunch. I looked back over my shoulder and observed the mountain range we had passed while in Turkey. It was only about fifteen minutes away but felt like we had stepped back in time. Old men dressed in earth coloured clothing gathered outside brick built shanty like shop fronts. Their skin tanned and weathered by nature. Again they stare at us. The whites of their eyes darting back and fourth as they pierce through our western veneer. Strangely enough I really don’t feel threatened. As I look closely at their faces they’re friendly, inquisitive, and welcoming.

 

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Responses

  1. We ( husband & I ) enjoy reading your comments and looking through your photographs as you journey with Ozbus. You write intelligently and give a good interpretation for the reader. The drive from Iran to Quetta in Pakistan will have given you plenty of time to contemplate. We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Regards, Maureen

  2. You write intelligently and give a good interpretation for the reader. The drive from Iran to Quetta in Pakistan will have given you plenty of time to contemplate. We look forward to reading your thoughts.

  3. Thank you Sheridan for keeping us up to date about the journey and sharing the lovely photographs. I particulary like the balloon shots – breathtaking!

  4. You rock Shero….


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