My hot chick in Iran!!
Trip Start Jun 09, 2010
39Trip End Dec 31, 2015
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I am an American in Iran. I’ve been preparing for this day for quite a long time, and it’s finally here. We crossed the border this morning and it was probably the most uneventful border crossing yet. It took a really long time, but otherwise, it was really easy. I got pulled aside at one point where an official walked me down a long white corridor, turning on lights as we went. At then end of the corridor was a single, empty white room with a desk and two chairs in the middle. He sat on one side, I sat on another. I was honestly a little bit nervous at that point, not really sure what was going on. He pulled out two cards and an ink pad. I then proceeded to provide finger prints of both hands and basic registration information. He could tell I was a little bit nervous and said “I’m very sorry to make you do this, I’m very embarrassed
From the border crossing we began our 3 hour drive to Masshed, which is one of the most religious cities in Iran, and site of the Imam Reza Mausoleum and Mosque. The drive was stunning, winding through desert mountains with craggy rocks and towering cliffs. The mountains gave way after a while to undulating hills and grassy plains that reminded me a lot of eastern Colorado.
Once we arrived in Masshed, we had a tour of the city to take in the sights. We visited two very different mausoleums. The first was to the most famous poet in Iran, Ferdowsi. He is credited with saving the Persian language and history with his wonderful, epic poems of heroes similar to Hercules in Greece or Siegfried in Germany. His mausoleum was simple marble, well visited and located in a nice park. Our guide informed us that he is single handedly more responsible for maintaining Persian culture than anyone else in Iran. Probably warrants a little further research, but sounds like a pretty big deal. Second, we visited the shrine to the Imam Reza, one of the holiest sights in the Muslim world, the holiest in Iran, and it was massive, comprising about 120 Acres of structures
For dinner, we had a fun time with the menu. I ordered a spicy chicken kebab with rice and a pomegranite drink. But on the menu, it just said "Hot Chick with Rice." What a disappointment when it was just spicy grilled chicken.
Since this is only my first day in Iran, I can once again only provide first impressions on this blog. So far:
1. The people are incredibly friendly and polite. At both the Ferdowsi Mausoleum and the Imam Reza Shrine, I had so many people come up to me and ask me questions, introduce themselves, ask to take my picture, or to have their picture taken with me. I was really taken aback. At one point, a whole crowd of teenage girls ran up giggling and wanted to take my photo!
2. Ethnically, the people seem a lot more European looking than the last two countries I‘ve visited. Even though most have darker skin like Arabic people, they often have blue or green eyes and Roman noses. I’m making generalizations here, of course, but I think the Persian identity of Iranians is going to be a striking feature.
3. It’s still very hot.
That’s about all I’ve got so far. Tomorrow, we fly to Tehran, have a city tour during the day, then fly to Shiraz in the evening. We’ll return to Tehran in a little over a week to visit the city for 2 more days. So, tomorrow is a long day, but should prove to be interesting. Tehran is the center of everything we hear about in Iran, the hub of the modern country.