Sunday, March 31, 2013

A few random things you may or may not know about Iran:

- Iran has, (in my opinion), the best inter-city bus system in the entire world. Buses are frequent, on time, clean, fast and unbelievably cheap- for a traveler. The average 7 hr bus journey costs less than 5 dollars, and that is for one of the pimpin' luxury "VIP" buses, which only have 3 seats across (as opposed to the usual 4). They are complete with a water cooler, carpets on the floor and free cookies, juice and various other snacks. Standard buses (which are still good by North American standards) are even cheaper.

- During Nowruz, it is completely normal to see familes (with very small children), out in the street until the wee hours of the morning, eating ice cream, smoking Ghaylun (sheesha pipes), drinking tea, and generally having a lovely time. It is completely antithetical to the western mentality of sending children to bed at 8 pm, and it seems kids here are all the more well behaved because of it.

- The biggest, best, (and by that I mean a foot long and loaded with mayo, spicy sauce, pickles, cheese and potato chips, on a soft baguette bun), hotdogs in the world are to be found in Shiraz, Iran. I kid you not. I am a hotdog expert.

- It may have taken a few weeks, but I have finally got used to the currency here, the Iranian Rial. The confusing part is that everything here is priced in Toman's, which is like the Rial minus one zero. So 10000 tomans = 100 000 rials. (Which itself equals about 3 dollars). This means that when you go and exchange 100 American dollars, you become a millionaire, in Rials. 3.5 Million to be exact. The average dinner costs about 10000 tomans, a bottle of water is about 500 tomans, taxis about 5000 tomans and my hotel room here in Isfahan is 30000 tomans (less than 10 bucks). It is probably the cheapest country i've ever traveled, and the best part is that prices here are fair, there is very little "foreigner pricing" and generally speaking, nobody tries to rip you off.

- Tehran is tied with Beirut as the nose job capital of the world. I havent yet been to Tehran, but Shiraz, Yazd and Isfahan are all crawling with many a bandaged nose. It is somewhat bizarre, and concerning that people here view plastic surgery as such a normal thing, but I suppose it's just another form of body modification akin to the ever-present North American tattoo.

- Carrot juice mixed with vanilla ice cream, as a float, is the most delicious thing you would never ever think to combine. Mmmm. It takes away some of the guilt, knowing you are getting all that Vitamin A with your sugar and fat dosage.

- Twix bars become that much tastier when you realize that to get to Iran, they had to be smuggled in. Twix bars, Red Bull and a petite Bahman cigarette. Heavenly.

- So-called "cultural differences" become completely irrelevant when you realize that cool people worldwide listen to similar music (I'll never forget my Shirazi late night sing alongs to Leonard Cohen's "famous blue raincoat"), watch the same films and T.V shows (from "Californication" to "How I Met Your Mother"), and spend their time obsessing over the same things (relationships, love, general restlessness with what to do with one's life), regardless of language or where they were born.


No comments:

Post a Comment