Yes, finally in Tehran, not the best couple of days of travelling but I guess that the hassles, delays and sheer frustrations are all part of travel.
Our flight was late, we missed our connection and spent 6 hours awaiting a new connection in Doha (always an ‘upside’ - we were eligible to spend the time comfortably in the Airport Business Lounge, no alcohol but comfortable with plenty of food), we missed our walking tour in Tehran and complimentary Airport pickup.
On arrival in Tehran, again things picked up (after consuming 4 breakfasts en route due to various time warps we came through, no more scrambled eggs thanks), I did manage to contact Intrepid about airport pickup but did not hear back from them, just as I started trying to find out cheapest and quickest means of getting into the city, this funny man races up and starts waving a ‘dreadful’ photo of Cameron at the information man, I nearly kissed him despite being tightly bound by scarf and jackets etc. such a relief as we were exhausted and the thought of negotiationing public transport with bags etc was daunting.
From there things picked up, the hotel is great and central, the ‘money men’ arrived and after handing over all our money, produced an Iranian credit card that actually works (and what interesting men they were, I would’ve introduced Nadine to the handsome and charming one if she wasn’t married, mind you I have promised her to many men across the world during my travels).
So we hit the metro and headed into the bazaar for the remainder of the afternoon and merely wandered around trying to get a feel and understanding of a place called Tehran.
Certainly quite challenging, more so than I expected. Very little English spoken (communication challenge), obviously quite run down as economy especially at the moment is shot to ribbons, very old cars and transport, way too much noisy chaotic traffic (which I expected in Tehran), all the signage and numbering etc in Farsi. Ramadan is, I think, going to impact upon our trip, as not a lot of food places open during the day.
The people have lived up to my expectation, charming and helpful, (subject to the language barrier), and we feel totally comfortable wandering around even knowing that we really are noticeable as foreigners.
Iran is not set up for tourism at all, unable to get hold of a street map, Metro maps , no tourism office etc. it’s like they don’t expect anybody to visit them, so quite a challenge. I enjoy that part, not like some countries which are badgering the tourist on every corner. We feel like one of the locals and fit in with them.
The scarf is a pain, interestingly it is always worn but so silly in my opinion as it is generally barely on the younger heads, mine has constantly slipped down onto my neck and with my thick head of hair, I can’t even feel when it has slipped. It is also very hot to be all covered up, the local women don’t seem to notice. I shall get used to it.
It is very polluted, however the snow clad mountains surrounding the city are beautiful and we do hope to explore them tomorrow. Also many green parks around the city.
We finished the day just as fasting was ending, however too exhausted by this stage after our massive trip so popped into a little restaurant which had just opened for a kebab of sorts, it was a local place and the family were thrilled to have us there. After much difficulty ordering a meal, it was a tasty simple dinner, just what we needed to sustain us.
About to head into town for the walking tour we missed yesterday and any other little adventure which might pop up en route.