Despite its very strained international relations, as a tourist, I fell in love with Iran. I really loved the country, the people, their habits..and their unique sense of welcoming! Let’s see why you might love Iran, as I do.
#1 Iran allows you to be lazy in the morning…
From my experience (in August!) life in Iran starts not earlier than 7.00 pm. Until 7 pm the sun is too strong, and in the street you can just find some melted tourists browsing around. Thankfully, there are not so many tourists in Iran! Ok, maybe some people do shopping under the shadow of the Bazaars.. but it’s from 7 pm, that the crowd wakes up!
At 7 pm, people come out from nowhere… surrounding you. You won’t even move two steps further, without being stopped from a family, a man, a little lady, the all crowd…..for a picture, a tea…or just a statement, from the very deep of the heart: WELCOME TO MY IRAN!
#2 …but not in the night!
Life in Iran ends at..actually, I really don’t know! I often went to sleep at 1/2.00 a.m., and at that time, every single city in Iran was still totally alive! They were doing…picnic, actually! Yes, just a picnic!! They start a bit after 7 pm, with people moving their real home equipment (the real one, not plastic ok?) everywhere along the streets. You’ll see whole families on a motorbike (3/4/5 people, with mini-children under the armpits), bringing ceramic plates, glasses, pots, barbeque and for sure…carpets!!
The invasion begins. From now on, every single light pole in town is conquered by a family. And the bigger the family (like 10/15/20 people..), the bigger would be the carpet! In every park, every garden, every square, children would run, skate and play together all night long. Yes, Iranian people genuinely live their cities.
This sense of community and collectiveness is emphasized by Taarof. What’s Taarof? Taarof is like honey…put honey in every single relationship you have, with lovers, with strangers, with everyone..and you have Taarof! Taarof is kindness, is politeness, is civility, goodwill and goodness. In the end, Taarof is a pot of unwritten and sometimes crazy rules, that drive any relationship in Iran.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you have to pay for a taxi! The taxi driver will probably tell you that he doesn’t need your money, he’d like to do it for free! Be aware: he doesn’t really want to do so!!! For sure he wants money!! But that’s Taarof!! Thus, the only way to get out of taarof is to stress your point up to three times!
IMPORTANT: Be honest, play Taarof rules. And don’t take advantage of it!
#4 Keeping stare, deeply, into each other’s eyes
Maybe due to their curiosity, or real astonishment watching something new.. But, Iranian people stare into your eyes. They stare deeply into your eyes. They don’t move away, getting eyes down, after a speedy look. No, they stare.
Iranian people connect with you through their eyes. And this connection makes you feel good! Comfortable! Welcomed. WELCOME TO MY IRAN!
#5 Drinking tea (..a lot of tea!) & fruit juices
Alcohol is strictly forbidden. And there is no coffee. BUT, promise you, you will never miss them in Iran! Tea (Chay!) is everywhere, at every time. And you’ll probably drink the best fruit juices of your life! I recommend not to look for illegal alcohol (not so funny to have issues with Iranian police). You can! And such fruit juices and Chay tea will put you reconsidering your life!
#6 Zafron and Kebab!
Iran has quite simple food, based mainly meat and rice. But so well cooked!! Iran is the home of saffron. This super tasty yellow powder is so cheap in Iran, that it is richly used to season your rice at any time. Typical meat and vegetables are served as kebab, stuck on a spit and cooked in a barbeque!!! All simple, but so healthy and tasteful!
Public toilets are everywhere.. maybe not always clean, but if you need them, just go to a park or to a mosque! As you will soon realize, every mosque has a toilet waiting for you!
To plan where to go, how and what to visit.. give a look at my whole trip, here. If you are interested to know why Iran is like this, and what happened in the last history who shapes the country, give a look here.
For more pictures of my trip to Iran, click here!
ENJOY YOUR TRIP & SHARE YOUR COMMENTS !!!
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