Back to Tehran, and a change of plan…

I’m sat writing this back in the hotel lobby in Tehran. We arrived back here yesterday just before 3pm after a journey which wasn’t as bad as expected! It flew by actually, but I think that was mostly because Richard and I spent the entire trip thinking of famous people and animals and getting the other one to guess who/ what they were! Even managed a few descriptions in Spanish – just for Rosa!

There were a couple of things we wanted to do back in Tehran – one was to go and see one of the city’s best known landmarks, the Milad Tower and the other was to try and scope out some of this ‘propaganda grafitti’ we had heard so much about.

We walked down to Tehran University which was previously the site of the American Embassy as we were told that this was our best bet for finding some drawings. There was hardly anyone around as we walked there because of the national holiday – this also meant that the Uni was closed and we couldnt actually get in so had to walk around the campus buildings and peer into the fence. It was a real struggle to find anything actually, which we were surprised about as we had this idea in our heads that all we would see in Iran was anti-US or anti ‘west’ symbols – especially with what is going on at the minute between Iran, the US and Israel.

Eventually we spotted this piece of ‘artwork’ on the wall – a massive painting in which the Statue of Liberty was depicted as a skeleton with eerie looking ‘people’ pointing over to the other side of the drawing where islamic characters were drawn. We stood for a while trying to figure out what the message was, so if anyone has any suggestions or has seen something like this before, we’d like to know your thoughts!!

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After we had wandered around the entire campus, we took a taxi up to the Milad Tower – unfortunately we couldn’t go up it because it was closed for the holiday, but we stood for a while trying to get some good photos. It seemed a lot smaller as we were stood underneath it!

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With our sightseeing done, we headed back to the hotel to get some food and ordered room service! (got to take advantages of the luxuries while we can!)

I mentioned in the title a ‘change of plan’ – our next country is Pakistan and for this we were due to take a plane direct to Karachi (as crossing the desert in the south east of Iran is too risky at the moment) but due to the airline we were planning to use not quite being up to scratch standards-wise we are making a slight detour with a different airline – to Bahrain!

Bahrain – part of the United Arab Emirates – is just across the Persian Gulf and we’ve got a 5 hour stopover there before we fly to Karachi. Not sure if we’ll be able to leave the airport but would be great if we could, as we’ve always wanted to go somewhere like Bahrain!

Will have to get a move on with this typing now actually, as need to repack our backpacks to make them ‘plane-ready’ but before I do, i’ve just about got time to sum up our experience of Iran…

I have to say that our cliched view of an ‘anti-US’ / ‘anti-west’ Iran, filled with resentment and propaganda graffiti all over the walls has been proved totally wrong! If we are being honest, i’ts been a bit of an anti-climax in that respect as we’d built ourselves up for it but I’m really glad that our vision of Iran was so inaccurate. We really have been ‘enlightened’ by the welcome of the Iranian people – both the youngsters and the older people in really different cities. From Tabriz to Zanjan, Tehran to Esfahan we have been taken aback by the friendly curiousity with which we have been greeted. What’s more, people seem genuinely pleased to see us and to welcome us to their country! They have all been very interested in what we think our Iran too.

I’m sure that a longer stay would certainly unearth some different attitudes to the ones we have encountered, but for now, we are just happy to be able to leave with the impression we have been given throughout our week here!


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1 Comment

  1. July 30, 20:26 #1 Mum

    Hi Aisleen. I was very surprised by this particular part of your journey. I thought you had said it wasn’t a very clean place, but perhaps I’m getting mixed up with somewhere else The photos portray it as an attractive country and the buildings look beautiful. I can’t believe there is a Bobby Sands boulevard!!! I look forward to hearing all about your Pakistan experience, though I believe the floods are horrendous. Hopefully you aren’t anywhere near them! Keep safe, love you lots xxxxx