Welcome to iran
Trip Start Oct 15, 2006
27Trip End ??? ??, 2007
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so six months ago when i arrived home from the last trip, complete with an israeli stamp in my passport (its a long story, don't ask), before applying for a new passport so i could come to iran, i decided to call the iranian embassy just in case. they asked me if i'm an australian citizen (yes) and told me its not a problem that i have the israeli stamp.
not quite believing them i waited a couple of months and called again, asking the same question. same answer.
i got the visa
i planned the trip and came up with a couple of contigencies (back from the iran border, thru armenia and georgia to azerbaijan and to continue eastwards overland).
36 hours ago and i've exited armenia and i'm waiting at immigration on the iran side with the other bus passengers. the officer calls me over, asks me a couple of questions and then tells me to stand aside.
i sweat (why is it always my left armpit?)
and then 'kaching kaching', my passport is stamped and i'm in, with only customs to pass.
the guard gives my luggage a cursory glance and waves me on, while gutting everybody else's bags.
i still can't quite believe it!!!
i dunno if its because i'm aussie and its no problem to have been to israel for us.
or just lucky
has anybody else had the stamp and been let in to iran?
has iran changed their policy?
i still dunno what the story there is but i got in and have received some replies on the thorntree including one from a girl who has 15 israeli stamps in her passport and goes to iran regularly. i wonder why guide books and travel experts say one can't enter iran with an israeli stamp in one's passport.
in my first 24 hours, and most days during the 5 weeks i was there, almost every preconception (not including the ones that the western media would have us all beleive: that iranians are terrorists and its dangerous to go there. i already knew that's bullshit) i had about the country were blown out of the water.
in the afternoon of day 1 in iran, i met 2 crazy american fellas: Bobak, a dual citizen of USA and iran, and Tyler whom some of u out there in TV veiwer land may remember won The Great Race on tv a year or whatever ago
bobak and tyler's story is available at:
they had a local mate who was driving them around and i was invited to Tochal, tehran's resident ski resort in the city's north, for the afternoon.
walking up the snowy path at tochal were loads of locals enjoying jameh (friday, the muslim sunday).
tyler and bobak are talking to everyone and videoing them and i started to realize that this place may be like so many others in asia, where the loacls are sooooo keen to chat.
so what better to do than to talk to girls? i met fatimeh, simmin and zahra, all local tehranis, who were very keen to chat
preconception 1 blown away.
we spent the afternoon and walking with these 3 gals and some others walking higher up mt tochal.
we spent the evening eating fast food- fried chicken and pizza- and wandering around a very glamorous shopping mall, we even went bowling.
6 days in tehran, a dinner with the fati, zahra, simmin and 4 other girls, many waterpipes a local chaykhuna (literally teahouse), felafel sandwiches, wandering in the bazaar, walking city streets, very little actual sightseeing, a funny old dude who allin jest made a great fuss whacking people with a stick that didn't hurt a bit ,countless invitations to take chay and generally soaking up iranian kindness and hospitality.
hmmm.... i gotta come back to this city!!