These are more observations from my trip to Iran and what has stood out to me. Some of these observations and generalizations are meant to be funny or ironic, but are not meant as all-encompassing truth.
1 - Crossing the street as a pedestrian, driving, or anything else that has something to do with traffic is a daily adventure. One from which you may or may not return alive.
2 - You have to take off your socks and shoes when you enter a Zoroastrian shrine, because of the attention given to purity and cleanliness.
3 - You will hear hundreds of different Persian dialects and other languages when moving across Iran. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a foreign country, because even if you are a native Persian speaker, you probably won’t understand half the things half the nation says.
4 - You find herbal potions everywhere you go that are meant to increase your sexual drive. #SanctionedViagra
5 - Riding camels is a novelty!
6 - The top new Persian hit song is…. Gangnam Style of course! And Iranians think they can actually dance to it. #fml
7 - You can have a totally fun ‘girls night out’ with total strangers in a bra and underwear shop because “no men allowed”
8 - Criticizing the regime or the government in blogs, tv, and newspapers will probably get you into a lot of trouble, but mocking and criticizing the regime and the government is considered normal small talk everywhere you go.
9 - You can eat the most delicious 80 centimeter long kebab of your life in the Armenian quarter while having a lovely chat in English with an Indian immigrant.
10 - Some Iranians - even well-educated ones - don’t know that Kashan is in Esfahan province. Really, guys? Come on!
11 - A foreign tourist will pay up to 10 times or more the amount of a native tourist to visit historical sites or museums. But it still won’t cost her more than 2 euros. #fml
12 - The police occasionally put up actual cars that have been totaled in auto-accidents on platforms along freeways between cities to act as a deterrent for those who don’t observe the rules of the road. But nothing works better as a deterrent than a $100 fine. :)
13 - Villagers (in the North) have 60 inch flat screens and satellite tv. #wtf #breakingstereotypes
14 - Four young women go to a traditional restaurant and get shush-ed patronizingly by two older men for being “too loud.” So then the girls proceed to have a lively discussion about gender equality and the meanings of the word “feminism” over a hot bowl of ‘Ash Reshteh.’ The best part of the whole thing? The Ash Reshteh of course!!!
15 - You can go from lush green forests to barren deserts in a matter of hours.
16 - A lot of Iranians believe that acquiring or living in houses where the former owner was forcibly or unjustly removed to be immoral and they will refuse to live in such places unless the previous owner is actually content. So if Americans acted like Iranians, the foreclosure problems and kicking people out of their homes would go away as no one would buy or be willing to live in foreclosed houses.
17 - All the West wants to talk about regarding Iran is the nuclear program, but all Iranians want to talk about is how ridiculously farcical their lives have become at the hands of Western and Iranian politicians.
18 - No conversation is complete unless price of the dollar and/or inflation is mentioned.
19 - Instead of actually figuring out a solution for the medicine shortage resulting from international sanctions, the government is filling its tv airtime with lectures about how awesome herbal remedies are. I guess that’s stimulating one part of the economy??? Meanwhile Western powers are still talking about the nuclear issue.
20 - The theme of…life…this year in Iran is “Political Valor, Economic Valor” as determined by the Supreme Leader. We have themes cause life in Iran is a party all day e’ery day. Last year’s theme was “Supporting national industries” in which we saw the near collapse of the Iranian economy. Happy New Year everyone! -____-‘ #fml
21 - We have separate and distinct road signs for “deer crossing” “camel crossing” “cow crossing” and “sheep crossing.”
22 - Which country in the world has a river named ‘Zayandeh Rood’ which means the “Birthing River” (from which all life flows) that has been dry for two years, and then another river named ‘Khoshk Rood’ which means “Dry River” that actually has water in it?
23 - If you’re traveling, you can stop your car at any point and ask anyone for directions. They will all stop what they’re doing and spend a good amount of time explaining in exact detail how to get to where you need to go. Sometimes you don’t even need to stop your car. You can just yell out questions from the window at the passing car or motorcycle and they will shout back directions at you. Who needs a GPS when you have amazing fellow countrymen and women?
24 – You can go to a trendy cafeeshop, order a “café glacé,” and be surrounded by shelves upon shelves of books by Franz Kafka, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, right next to Ali Shariati, Jalal-e Al-e Ahmad, and Sadegh Hedayat. #BookParadise
25 – No matter how difficult things get, no matter how much your life becomes the plaything of politics and economics, and no matter how bleak your future might look, Iranians will always persevere and find a way to laugh, have fun, and be happy. Nothing and no one can break our love of life. <3