November 13, 2011

more "facts" about Iran

1. as expected in middle east and south in general, time is relative, schedules and plans and facts only approximate and easily forgotten.

2. family is the most important unit. ppl consult their families on matters and parents word is the law, even if ur legally an adult. it's pretty hard to understand for someone from an individualist society. I kind of understand and nod to myself, but then I see it 'in action' and it's way over my comprehension. it had its sides, like anything.

3. Iranians are veeeery proud of their heritage and history. ppl are full of stories about ancient kings, imams, poets and other great heroes. in addition Iranians are very proud of their country as a whole, every city, tomb and monument is amazing and a must-see, and lacking interest to see something is considered an insult. but that's nice, they definitely feel they are living in the most beautiful country in the world, and perhaps most people feel that way about their home country but it rarely came across so clearly. Iran is very beautiful though, no doubt, and be proud of that history too.

4. I didn't meet anyone who likes the government but the estimations of government supporters varied from 40 to 70%.

5. the food is mostly a mixture of what u can find in Turkey and India. I'm not saying Turkish or Indian, they were all the same a long time ago anyway. but Iranians are not aware that similar foods, drinks are vegetables are served behind the borders. I think I caused some hurt feelings by commenting that id rather not eat kebab here as i get enough of it in Turkey. and I recognized 'dough' as a drink similar to ayran in Turkey and piimä in Finland. etc. the Iranian breakfast is not my thing unfortunately, but neither is Turkish nor British, for instance. in short it consists of the big soft 'bread' from which u rip pieces from, and some cheese and special jams to go with it. besides kebab, a chicken leg under a pile of rice is the most common dish. piles of rice arrive with every meal actually and they are huge. a lot of the dishes are sweet, even minced meat. and desserts are sweeter than sweet, lots of jellos. restaurants are closed or just not serving food between 3-6pm. especially better restaurants don't even open until 6:30.

6. people in service professions are often bloody uninterested, up to point where it feels rude. In shops u might get half-a-smile but in a restaurant there's no chance.

7. Iranian hospitality goes way overboard. it's great of course, to have people insisting to host you, serve you, skip school and work for you and have their friends do the same... not to mention they try to pay for everything! but its overwhelming too, makes a selfish Finn feel embarrassed.

8. Iranians don't usually have knives on the table. a spoon is used to cut food.

9. Iranians were telling me that the "original aryans" were Persians, Italians and Germans. and the retired army pilot told me he likes Adolf Hitler, because Adolf liked Iranians (??). i didn't get to the bottom of the subject but there is some kind of superior race thinking going on, for some people at least. and they were proud to point that the nazi flag had the same 'bird' figure as the pillars in Persepolis. no one mentioned the Jews.

10. the iranian busses are mainly divided in 2 categories, VIP and basic. the difference is about 40% in price. VIP has wider seats and more legs pace, with snacks and water etc. almost all busses are either Volvo or Scania, and many have tv. none have a toilet, but the busses stop every 4-6h at rest stops or in front of village restaurants or kiosks. but also at the roadside whenever u feel u need to go. the rest stops are big buildings with fast food restaurants, shops selling snacks and most importantly gift sellers. gifts are usually sweet desserts, nuts, cookies and the like. bus travel is cheap, Shiraz to Tabriz with a 'basic bus' was 200 000 rials/30tl/12€. a bus has a driver and at least one attendant who is serving water, closing curtains and hassling around.

11. surprisingly many Iranians speak Turkish. sometimes in a different dialect but anyway. especially in Teheran and Tabriz, western part of Iran.

12. the climate in Iran is dry. extensive heating in the winter months makes it further more uncomfortable, degrees between 25-31C have been witnessed inside.

13. the movie theatres are only allowed to show Iranian movies. a few theatres are showing some older American movies but censored. if a person wants to see western movies or television, they should get a digital receiver which is illegal. watching especially Turkish channels is popular, once u have that illegal receiver.

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