Friday, April 18, 2008

Today in Tehran

Today is Friday and in Tehran its the week's day of worship. Consequently all (almost) was closed and our one appointment for the day bailed on us.
It's early summer weather here, hot, but more temperate than Qatar.
As I'm sure you know, Iran is a dry country.
I don't mean lack of rain, I mean lack of booze.
There is a rather vile brand of non alcoholic beer, which if that was your only exposure to demonic fermented stuff, would safely put you off the road to ruin that myself and many of my readers are happily skipping down.
The point of this is I feel rather clear headed.
Given I had nothing to do, I went for a little stroll.
What I thought would be an hour or so ended up being roughly 4.
Given it's their Sunday, the center of Tehran was quiet.
My goal was to visit the old American Embassy then shoot back to the hotel hire a car and go to the mountains north of the city.
I didn't make it back in time but saw some interesting tidbits.
At some point I took a wrong turn and ended up at Tehran University. I'm not going to talk much about it here, but will do so in another post ( I have TONS of pictures and no time to post them).
I did finally make it to the embassy, and as I thought, the murals were there as promised and the vibe was interesting.
I was a little disappointed not to encounter rapid protesters, but I guess even they take a day off now and again.
It was deserted....almost.
Two little "mishaps" involving my camera did happen.
The first took place outside of the Ministry of Petroleum.
For no real reason I took a picture of the sign out front and carried on walking.
Above me, some guy screamed from a window:
"Get Office!!!....No PACTURE!!!!NOOOO"
I walked back along the building and a security guard asked to see what I'd taken.
I showed him.
He shrugged and with a smile (embarrassed) rolling his eyes upwards to the windows, he ask me to delete it.
I did.
He shook my hand and I was on my way.
The second incident happened at the embassy.
After shooting some of the murals, we heard a gasping voice...
"Pleeesse.. puff,, puff, take...picture"
My colleague Gareth and I turned around to see a sweating out of breath kid of about twenty (soldier).
He asked us to come with him and we walked along the embassy wall ( chatting- "where you from? Canada? COLD!") all the way around to the other side of the compound.
He'd had quite a sprint to catch up with us.
Inside were a half dozen other boy soldiers all smiling.
They gathered around looking at my pictures until they found the one that was "no good".
I'd inadvertently included one of their surveillance cameras in the frame.
I deleted it and we were on our way again.
When we got back to our original point at the front of the embassy, we looked for and spotted the camera.
We gave it a thumbs up and smiled.
The camera responded with sharp up and down and side to side movements.
We burst out laughing.
I'm sure the kids were laughing too.
All smiling security.
That's been my experience so far.
The US embassy has murals on its outside wall.
Have a look:

The first one above depicts the ill fated rescue mission to to free the embassy hostages. The freak winds in the desert all but sealed Jimmy Carter's fate and the world got Ronald Regan.

The other pictures are self explanatory or beyond my understanding so no explanation can come from me.That's it for the embassy.

Here's a little teaser regarding the pictures I took at Tehran University. I'll post them as and when. Stay well



cruxandflux said...

very nice...

sarah_500 said...

I have always found it interesting how in these so called "danger" zones, the police, military & guards employed to enforce the rules do so with humour, humility and usually with more than a little embarrassment. I guess it brings it home how the select few make the rules and leave it to others carry them out.