typical way of selling spices at bazar (local market)
Story #1: Q and I arrived at Tehran Railway Station, only to find out that the train tickets we wanted for that night were "sold out". So there we were, tired and desperate, stuck at a big and crowded waiting hall, clueless with the signs and announcements. Then the fellow Iranian travellers were only too eager to help us even though they were waiting for the same last-minute train tickets: they pushed us to the front of the waiting line, passed us waiting ticket stub all the way from front, and signaled to us when we had no clue what the announcements were all about. If not for the special treatment, we wouldn't have been able to sleep on an overnight train later that day. I know it's hard to imagine, but they were really desperate for their own tickets, and yet they still managed to be sweet to "the guests to their country".
All signs look the same at Tehran train station.
Story #2: Q has a running habit of trying barber shops in different countries he travels to, and Iran was no exception. When we had trouble finding one, two university girls were only too happy to ask around for us and took us to a barbershop around street corner. After realizing it's closed for prayer break, they ventured out to find us another one that's up two flights of stairs in a residential lowrise! The girls ran around for us for quite a good while, all just to satisfy a tourist's rather silly request! You see, to them, there's no silly requests when they are from visitors.
Story #3: After waking up from our overnight train ride, we were immediately greeted by a family of Iranians staying in the same compartment. When we exchanged our farewells just before getting off the train, the mom said to us,"Welcome to Iran!" and proceeded to give us a souvenir gift! Can you imagine that, really!
Other than the stories, here are a few other discoveries that you wouldn't normally see on TV:
- The traffic in Iran is, haha, to some degrees worse than that of Abu Dhabi, or Manila or Beijing! Our dear friend Sara would've had a hundred heart attacks over it! :) Even I was very shaky about crossing. Go on, all you die-hard drivers just have to go there to experience the thrills!
- Iranians were hooked to this South Korean drama series. Everywhere we went, the TVs were tuned into it: at airport visa office, train station, grocery store... :)
- Their opinions of the Americans are interesting! When I asked one of the two girls who helped us find the barbershop what she thought of the Americans, she gave me an answer I would have never guessed, "I don't know. I have never been to the United States...
- Abu Dhabi is trying to become the art and culture capital of the middle east - Isfahan already is.
- Right, I did have to wear a head scarf, but most of the time it didn't bother me - I only forgot occasionally when I walked insid
Okay, so if there's one message I would like to conclude this post on Iran, it's gotta be "Politics ≠ People!" From yours truly... :) (: