So far Ann, 99 and Monte have joined a project to come and visit me. Proggiemuslima, Karen, BB2, Curt, the mysterious Kilroy, Servant, Eatbees, Richard and my dear friend have no other choice than to join the group. You are certainly aware of our highly persuasive methods over here 🙂
In 1956 Michael Marriott and his wife Nita rode a scooter from the UK to outback Australia. The story of their adventure was captured in the book “Two Up” By Scooter to Australia, published in 1969.
Relevant post: Cuts & pastes
“…When I told my friends and family I was going to Tehran, they looked at me as if I were taking a short break in Mordor, and expected that the next time they saw me I would be being paraded by Revolutionary Guards after confessing to espionage, and then publicly hanged from a large crane at a busy traffic intersection…” Daily Mail, Peter Hitchens, April 2007
“… Indeed violence seems pretty absent from Iranian society. In our whole two weeks there, we only once heard two people fighting …” Jez Humble, April 2007
“..It was rather surprising for us to note the love of poetry and the affection with which poets from previous centuries are still regarded today. There were often fresh flowers on the shrines we visited and young people standing respectfully nearby…” Kathy and David, March 2007
“I traveled to Iran to lead an exchange of American higher education officials — a project of Search for Common Ground, an international non-governmental conflict resolution organization…” Venturing into Iran: Beyond the warning, Rebecca Larson, 2005
““Where are you from?” a young man outside one of the many carpet stalls asked me. … Sigh. “The U.S.,” I replied …” My Journey to Iran, Janet Larsen, Sept 2005
“I didn’t expect to be standing here, by these graves, tears rolling down my face. But then, I didn’t expect a lot of things when I came to Iran… I didn’t expect to give chocolate to an ayatollah, or to watch a young Iranian-American woman launch herself into the arms of an uncle she’d never met. Most of all: I did not expect joy.” Axis of evil meets Great Satan, lots of smiles ensue, Judy Carlock, Feb 2004
“The goodbye of Iran was a border officer who wanted a bribe of US$20 for opening the gate to Turkey. Of course, we offered him only some nasty words, but this last incident was the climax of just too many similar incidents in Iran… We were very happy to enter Turkey!…” Photography by Erwin Voogt, 2004
“… One thing we couldn’t work out was the logistics of ‘taking off the crash helmet and putting on a head covering without exposing your hair’…” Iran: A Storm Brewing, Simon McCarthy & Georgie Simmonds, Dec 2003
Travellerspoint: Guide, Iran Blog Entries
Educational Travel Community
American Museum of Natural History scientific expeditions
Global Exchange: How to be a socially conscious traveler?
Distant Horizons: cultural tours with guest scholars
Days in Iran for sale: Immaterial Art
Good Times in Bad Lands
As my dear online friend intends to travel to Iran –to buy socks – this post is dedicated to her to subdue the inevitable “cultural shock“:
“For a first-time visitor, there’s nothing quite like arriving in the Islamic Republic of Iran. A few minutes before our plane touched down at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport this weekend, all the women aboard started digging in their bags for head scarves and long-sleeved jackets called manteaus to comply with the country’s strict Islamic code. Dozens of Iranians who had been happily drinking alcohol and displaying skin-baring tops now covered up faster than you can say “the Great Satan.”
Once on the ground, I waited for several minutes in a long line before an immigration officer glanced at my U.S. passport and curtly pointed me to a different queue. There’s no sign that tells arriving Americans where to go (tip for future travelers: it’s the line on the far right), but it seemed pointless to complain.
The officer in the second booth took my passport and disappeared into a side room. Several minutes passed and soon I was the only one of the several hundred passengers from our plane still waiting in the dilapidated terminal. A parade of uniforms periodically offered reassuring gestures or grunts before going on their way. Meanwhile, I continued to sit.
I’ve been in plenty of Third World countries, so travel headaches are nothing new. But after about 45 minutes, worried that the driver I’d arranged to meet me would give up and leave, I was struggling not to lose patience. By now, it had been 21 hours since I’d arisen at 4:20 am to catch my first flight at Dulles airport and I was beat.
My thoughts were interrupted by yet another officer. “Mister, mister,” he said, indicating I should follow him to a chest-high wooden shelf behind his desk. And it was there that I was slowly, clumsily and quite sloppily fingerprinted. At one point he yanked my thumb so awkwardly I grumbled: “if you bend it any farther than that it breaks.” He didn’t understand English but I think he caught my drift.
I’d been warned by a colleague to expect this treatment, which is how Iran retaliates for the United States fingerprinting Iranian visitors. But understanding why this pointlessness was occurring didn’t make it any more enjoyable.
Suddenly, another officer nudged me with an elbow. Pointing to the man doing the fingerprinting, whose back was to us, the second officer pantomimed smearing my ink-covered hand across the his back. The young Iranian officer’s smile was so genuine, and his giggle so infectious, that it was impossible to remain irritated. And just like that, I was glad to be in Iran.” David J. Lynch, USA Today