Arriving in Tehran

Trip Start Nov 07, 2016
1
2
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Trip End Nov 21, 2016


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Flag of Iran  , Tehran Province,
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

We flew directly from Chicago to Istanbul and spent the night there. Jet lag is such a wonderful thing. We both abruptly woke at 1 AM which allowed us to follow the Cubs win in the sixth game of the World Series. Who needs to sleep? Go Cubs! This morning it is on to Tehran.

Let's begin with some basic facts about Iran. It is big -- about the size of Alaska. It is in the middle east sharing borders with some of the troubled countries that we often hear about in the news -- Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan -- as well as a couple other Central Asia countries and Turkey. It is not an Arab country -- only 2% of the population is Arab and speaks Arabic. The majority of the population is Persian and speak Farsi, the official state language. The alphabet for Farsi is a modified Arabic script, but I am hard pressed to tell the difference between the two.

Iran is, of course, an Islamic theocracy. Ninety-nine percent of the people are Muslim, specifically Shi'a. The law of the land dictates modest dress for all women, including tourists. This has caused some packing stress for me as I am supposed to wear loose fitting tops or jackets that fall at least mid-way to my knees. And at all times when out in public -- that would be anytime outside our hotel room -- I have to wear a scarf. More about that later.

We arrived in Tehran in a sandstorm, The sky was grey-brown with sand, and visibility was at times less than a quarter mile. We settled into our very lovely and modern hotel near the center of this city of 14 million, and when the winds died down we could see snow-topped mountains from our window. We met our guide and two fellow travelers at the airport. The other three of our group are arriving tonight.

Tomorrow, hopefully after a better night's sleep, we will tackle the museums of Tehran. Our guide told us that tomorrow is a special day -- Anti-American day -- commemorating the takeover of the American Embassy in 1979. The streets around the Embassy would be filled with parades and protestors, he said. We decided that if asked, we would identify ourselves as Canadians. After this, he promised, we would find the Iranians very warm and welcoming.
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Comments

Ross and Jo on

Notwithstanding your assurances, Jo and I decided you are intrepid adventurers. We look forward to teh news and photos of the adventure.

Ross and Jo

Phyllis E Bergman on

We have BFC here (Bhutan Fried Chicken) and also Momo Bell.
Do you always see large groups of men just standing around?

ldhensel
ldhensel on

Seems like we see groups of men sitting around in every country we visit. Not so much women, I think they are working.

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