M.’s Blog

tehran, iran — report 2

October 13, 2009 :: Tags: , :: 2 Comments

almost 10 days in tehran now. nami and sora flew back to chicago last night. i am so happy they had a chance to visit tehran, and the family. they were stars here.
i have taken over a thousand pictures and will post a few here as soon as i return. the trip so far has been very good. a few highlights:

  • went to my boarding school/high school. the boarding school is now a women’s school but the school is still there and remains one of the best in iran. the doorman remembered me from 32 years ago!
  • while at school, a few kids came to us, saying “hi” and “i love america”
  • many people on the streets tell us hi.
  • caught a cold. went to a doctor. she did not accept money from me saying i am a guest.
  • many beautiful women, covering part of their head as they have to in public; but actually you notice their beauty even more. when you see them at a party, the cover comes off and they (well, most) look brilliant.
  • low cut pants are rather common among young men. not the most beautiful scene imho.
  • i have been pigging out. so much delicious food. pictures to be posted soon.
  • facebook, twitter, linkedin, and other social networking sites are filtered here. many people buy programs to break this filter. i have not been able to do so as i use a mac.
  • everyone has been courteous and friendly to us. this includes places we have been going to like museums, palaces, and a mosque, giving us free catalogues and trying to make us feel like a guest of honor.
  • i find tehran cleaner than chicago, and certainly much cleaner than san francisco. i am also surprised how clean everyone, even the street cleaning people are. most i see are on the young side, clean shaven, and put gels on their hair, using their brooms to clean the city.
  • the gentleman you see in many pictures is my brother whom i met after about 31 years in antalya, turkey a couple of months ago. i love him more than ever and am proud of the good person he is.
  • one of my biggest fears was going through the customs and the immigration office. again, was pleasantly surprised how smooth and professional it was.
  • seeing most my family members after 32 years is a bit an emotional event. a few of the loved ones have passed away during this time. as i see them through the lens of my camera, can not help but wonder who may be next.

iranian audiophiles

October 12, 2009 :: Tags: , :: 2 Comments

music lives high in iran where you can find a tight knit group of audiophiles. my friend sirous omidvar of avin ava is contributing well to that. nami, sora and i had a great meal at sirous, shadi and avin’s home talking about cultures, life, and music. we adjourned to sirous’s meticulous showroom while nami, sora, and avin played with their four new kittys.

congratulations mr. president

October 11, 2009 :: Comment

obama bookcongratulations to our president for winning the noble peace prize. i was delighted to hear this news. somewhat surprised at some negativity surrounding this award. so many iranians i have met here have been congratulatory about this award. my understanding is that the award has been given for the “effort,” and obviously not the result. who knows, maybe president obama will be the only person in the world to receive two nobel peace prizes. one for the effort, and the other for the result. let’s pray for that.

tehran, iran

October 4, 2009 :: Tags: , :: 4 Comments

i am now in tehran, visiting my home country after about 32 years. there are many cousins i am now meeting for the first time. my aunts and uncles look much older now. everyone is so kind and i am so proud of the good people they are.
the trip through customs was uneventful and easy. the immigration officers were very professional to everyone. i was wearing conservative clothing (versus my usual music type of a guy dude stuff) but i soon realized my concern was a bit unfounded. you see all kinds of people, albeit it still makes sense to be on the conservative side to avoid the fashion police.
i have only had a two hour walk outside home. i passed by many men who appear to be gay. so yes, forget what you heard at columbia university! women cover their head with a scarf but it is often pretty fashionable and does not cover the head fully. in fact, some of their fashion and scarves draw attention to them more. e.g. a young woman covering half of her head with a scarf and her hair closer to the front was blue.
access to facebook and twitter is very difficult. i am taking a lot of pictures that i will be posting here. so far there have been two trips in my life i have been most excited about. this trip to visit iran, and my 1977 trip out of iran when i moved to switzerland.

the olympics – oh, no

October 3, 2009 :: Tags: :: Comment

well, unfortunately we were not even selected as one of the two last finalists. frankly, i was really concerned when 500,000 spaniards went to the streets supporting madrid as the potential host city for the olympics. i just don’t think we could have had that outpouring in chicago. too many people not supporting it. even our city council (alderman) was not totally onboard until last week.
really a shame. i am sad about it.
i was in seoul, korea many times before the world cup and shortly after the world cup. the improvements to the city, and the internationalization of the city was as a byproduct of the world cup events was impressive. i think chicago and america would have benefited from the events. as for me, despite my sadness, i am glad to see how i feel for the city. maybe it is becoming a home, after all.