On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter arrieve.

Iran, Part 2

Taken on April 2015


I took this picture from the back of the cab as we drove into Tehran from the airport. The tour group — Americans traveling in Iran are required to do so as part of an organized tour — was meeting at the hotel, so I was traveling by myself at that point, and I was a little nervous. I was already wearing a manteau — the thigh-length loose coat that’s required for women in Iran who don’t wear a chador — and as the plane descended, the women around me pulled out their headscarves and put them on, so I did too.

At immigration, the agent spent an uncomfortably long time looking at my visa — he actually licked his finger and rubbed the page, as though he suspected it was something I had whipped up on the plane — and finally I was waved aside and taken to a small room to be interviewed by the police. Who were actually very nice. I was just asked my name, where I lived, my occupation — all questions from the visa application — and details about the tour I was going to take. Later, when we had a chance to compare notes, I learned that everyone else in the group had gone through a similar interview, so it seems to have been standard procedure. But it was unnerving.

And, fortunately, that was the last unnerving experience I had in Iran.

Taken on April 2015


So, what does Tehran look like?

Like most big cities, it very much depends where you are. The southern part of the city is grittier, the effects of a bad economy and years of sanctions more obvious. The northern part of the city, which stretches up into the lower slopes of the mountains, is much wealthier. There are hilly streets of modern apartment buildings that look like San Francisco or Seattle.

I took this picture, from the Ferdows Garden, just because the street is so nondescript, so far from what I expected. Except for the license plates in Farsi, this could be anywhere in the world.

Taken on April 2015


Here’s a picture of Ferdows Garden. Gardens are another big part of Iranian culture, even in the middle of the desert. There was a cafe by the awnings on the right-hand side of the picture that was a perfect clone of Starbucks, including mugs for sale that said “I [heart] Iran.”

Taken on April 2015


Tehran does boast the scariest drivers I’ve seen outside of India. There are motorcycles bearing entire families weaving in and out between the cars, and traffic signs and signals are mostly ignored.

Tehrani drivers have also taken the concept of the U-turn to new levels. Not only do they make U-turns in the middle of eight lanes of crazy traffic, they will, if necessary, drive over the island in the middle. (Or anything else that happens to be there.) The motorcycle and car in this picture did manage to avoid a head-on collision, but it was close.

Taken on April 2015


This is something you see everywhere in Iran — pictures of the martyrs, the young men killed in the war with Iraq in the 1980’s. Tens of thousands were killed, and Iranians still seem traumatized. Families gather in the cemeteries every weekend to mourn their sons.


Thank you so much arrieve, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


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8 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    The pictures and the stories are fascinating. thank you

  2. 2
    lee says:

    These are great pictures.

    That one of the street really could be anywhere in the world.

  3. 3
    Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!) says:

    It’s very interesting to see these pictures of a place few of us will ever go to in person. Thanks!

  4. 4
    Steve in the ATL says:

    How’s the skiing there? I imagine with that climate they have great powder.

    The driving sounds like every large third world city, and that includes Rome.

    Fascinating trip. Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5
    bluefoot says:

    Wonderful photos! I am envious – I’ve always wanted to travel to Iran and other places in the Middle East.

  6. 6
    arrieve says:

    @Steve in the ATL: There are a lot of ski resorts in the mountains north of Tehran apparently, but I didn’t go up there. I would love to go back and spend more time there someday.

  7. 7

    Great photos! Fascinating trip.

  8. 8
    stinger says:

    Thank you for the great photos, and the reminder that we are all more alike than we are different.

Comments are closed.