An evening in Tehran

Landed in Tehran after a delayed flight and an even more delayed connection. Finally found a city that could rival Beijing in pollution. The faint outline of the mountains against the backdrop of Tehran is barely visible through the thick smog.

Hopped into a cab, hoping to find the Iranian photography centre. Apparently my map is outdated and was dropped off somewhere to walk to find a closed centre. But not before getting enthusiastic offers of help from passerbys at every turn of the corner.

The streets are a cacophony of vehicles moving in all directions, on the roads and the sidewalks which are apparently not reserved for pedestrians. Despite the hair-raising driving, cars manage to dodge accidents. And the people. So many stunning Iranian women, each worthy of being a photography model. And I just love how some of the men are well-dressed but not too flashy, carrying their valises as they go about their business.

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It was late in the afternoon, and it started to rain. Wet in Tehran: people crossing slushing waters and zig-zagging in between maniacally driven cars. Getting hungry. Check out this menu at a sofrakhane: now what shall I have for dinner? Crows, walrus or some submissive?

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After a comforting dinner of dizi, koofteh tabrizi and cherry tea, we took the metro just for fun. Innocently snapped photos until my camera was dramatically taken away from me. Stern-looking man barked in Farsi and walked off in big strides to the station control to hand over my camera, which was then returned to me within seconds by smiling faces. Still have no clue what happened. Lost in translation yet again. But yet again strangers stopped to enquire and talk to us.  That short metro ride was really an exposure to the random friendliness which was unexpected in a capital city.

Got off and walked back to hotel in the dimmed night lights. Walked past the banking district and was yet again offered unsolicited information: this building was built by the Germans in the 30s and 40s owing to Iran’s friendly ties with Adolf Hitler.

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