here, there, everywhere

There Are Computers in Iran!!!

In Asia, Iran on October 31, 2002 at 7:03 pm

Yes, it’s true.  Iran truly is a progressive country and there are functioning computers.  In fact, the internet connections are probably the best here.  So in case you haven’t guessed, we are now in Iran.  Eric has put up some beautiful photos on the site so have a look and be very surprised.

We crossed the border last Friday in one hour and ten minutes, a record for anyone who has ever tried crossing from Turkey.  That includes bringing Eric across who was taken into a private room for questioning but made it out alive after two minutes of ‘Hi – how are you, do you love our country?’.

So far we’ve been stopped a number of times by the police and military, but mostly because they have no idea what to do with us.  Tourism is so low because of 9/11 that we we’re only the second overland truck to cross into Iran through Turkey this year.  When the military spots us now, they are really at a loss as to what they are supposed to do.  However, they treat us with respect and are more curious about us than anything else.

One night we stayed at the Caspian Sea.  When the locals found out we were in the neighbourhood, they all showed up on their motorbikes just to look at us.  Some had never seen foreigners before so they just sat and watched while we ate dinner.  The next morning when we woke up someone had brought us fresh bread for breakfast.  This was after we had dinner with a French arms dealer.  Don’t ask me how we meet these people, but I have no objections to getting to know the types you only see in movies.

Anyways, we’ve been hanging out in Tehran for a few days and although it’s a big city, I haven’t done much sightseeing other than to visit the former U.S. embassy which is now affectionately known as ‘the U.S. Den of Espionage’.  It’s pretty interesting to see all the propaganda painted on the walls outside – it’s in total contrast to how the Iranian people really feel towards Americans.  They are always trying to reassure us that they love all North Americans and do not necessarily hold the same views as the government.

So now that I’m here, you’re all probably wondering the same thing – what’s the traffic like?  Haha, I know you’re more interested in the head scarf thing but I really do have to address the whole manner of driving here.  It’s the most chaotic thing I have ever seen in my life.  It’s the funniest game of chicken between pedestrian and driver – the pedestrian knows he’ll lose yet persists in standing there til the car swerves around him.  Today I tried to play the game and almost won against a Peugeot until Adam freaked out and pulled me back.  A red light at an intersection appears to mean that if the red light applies to you, quickly turn right or left into oncoming traffic.  All cars drive without the following three things:  headlights (hot pink do not count as you can barely see them), a clutch, and windshield wipers which is not such a big deal unless it rains like it did all day yesterday.  Arnout also pointed out that there is no such thing as sideview mirrors, probably because they’ve all been knocked off at some point.  I won’t even start on the phenomena that are motorcycles.

As for the head scarf, I actually do not mind wearing it except when I am pitching a tent.  Then it just gets in the way and nailed into the ground about 2 times before I start screaming and then one of the guys comes and finishes up.  It’s also a pain when you are in a hotel room without a private sink and must put the thing on to go outside to find a place to wash your face.  For the most part however, it’s not all that noticeable and one added bonus is that it catches the food that misses my mouth and provides a snack for later on.

So there you have it, about six days in Iran and I can’t find a single thing wrong with it.  I’m glad we’ve added an extra week on because there is so much to see and we probably won’t get to half of it all.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of you would actually enjoy it here yourselves.  Just stop watching the news and check out Eric’s website to see how beautiful it really is.

This Saturday is 7 weeks on the truck and we are all still getting along like best pals.  The only person I’ve had to punch thus far was a dirty old cab driver in Lebanon.

That is all for now.  Iran wants me to tell you that it loves you all!!

(check out more photos of the Alborz Mountain entrance here…)

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