Arriving in Tehran
Trip Start Nov 07, 2016
15Trip End Nov 21, 2016
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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
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.