My love for Iran has been tempered by Hushman, the insipid little man assigned to be the local guide and driver on the last tour. He was really incredible. I’ll sum him up for the moment with a quote by tourist Elaine, an otherwise calm and pleasant woman.
“I’m not letting that bastard get the best of me.”
The guide before Hushman was fabulous and professional (particularly when compared to “call me Hushie”) and it made the torture of incompetent guidance all the worse. I’m also tired and cranky beyond belief. I’ve been in Iran a month now and have completed two, two week tours around the country, as well as the tour in from Uzbekistan. This week I start the tour that travels back to Tashkent (by road) and thanks be to God, it’s my last tour of the season!
Of course, I am meant to have a big twelve hours “off” between tours to write the reports and account for every rial spent, and to “have some time to myself” but my clever employers in AU have run the two tours (with different group members) together again, confusing everything in the process and pushing me over the edge. I only have time now because they brilliantly scheduled a full day of sightseeing today—four excellent museums.
Any idiot knows that museums are closed on Mondays. Even in Iran.
I mentioned this to both the organizers in AU and here in Tehran three weeks ago and was assured it would be changed, but no, I spent the morning in the office working it out as the tourists sat waiting in the van outside. Well done.
Otherwise, Iran is still fabulous. Really great. I haven’t been writing much because the days are jam-packed with sights and as Iran is new to me, I go everywhere rather than hand the tourists off to local guides as I did in Uzbekistan where I’ve seen everything ten times. (I also hand-pick and trust the guides in Uzbekistan.) That bought me some beloved down time. No, I haven’t been silent because it’s Iran. Life here is no less normal than in Uzbekistan, dress code aside.
The dress code is not full chador (which means ‘tent’ in Farsi), the black sheet-like covering associated with Iranian women. Things here have opened up considerably in the last few years and I am able to wear what is called a rupush, a duster-like, floor-length light cotton dress/coat that covers my shirt and pants. One rupush is light blue and the other light gray. I also tie a scarf over my pulled-back hair, around my chin—not unlike Grandma.
Here I’m relaxing with Amin at one of the Shah’s many palaces in Tehran. Amin was my first local guide—the best. He’s the guy who said ‘insha’Allah for sure.’ I’m wearing a rupush and showing a bit too much hair.
How about that Lithuanian basketball team, eh?
You may guess that I am looking forward to the end of the season. Fifteen days. Less than 40 hours of road time. Less than 40 meals of kebab/shashlik. Yeah, tired. The parasites are still with me and they act up most when I am tired and stressed. Yeah, I’ve had them about three months now. But it wouldn’t be a trip abroad for me if I didn’t get something weird fornicating in my stomach. Blastocystosis this time. Actually, I think they reproduce asexually. Sorry. I’ll stop.
Because I’ve been thinking incessantly about all my film for the last few weeks, on a whim I emailed my favorite prof at ICP (international center of photography in new york) and asked if I could TA for him again this fall. I’ll miss the first two classes, but I’m on, given that I manage to snag a seat on the 20 October UZ AIR flight to NYC. I’m trying to accomplish that not—not easy from Tehran. I’ll spare the details and prayers, but I’m really hoping to get back. It’s a bit insane leaving UZ only three days after the season ends and heading straight into another responsibility (on the 21st), but it will ground me.
Grounding is good, seeing as I’ll be homeless again.
Sarcasm and complaint aside, I really do love my life. Remind me of this when I’m lying on your couch in a few weeks harping on the very tired subject of real estate in NYC.
I could easily spend the next six months working entirely on the films I’ve shot and writing about the last six months. And recovering. Luckily I don’t have much of an appetite with this stomach thing (I am still not used to the weird metallic taste in my mouth that it causes). I do have a strong yearning for a pad though. I’ve stayed in some shockingly ugly hotels this year.
YES. Here I go again. I’m looking for an apartment for Nov 1.
shocking hotel in Samarkand
Tell your friends. If you don’t live in NYC, tell someone who does. I abhor cigarette smoke (still), but otherwise I’m pretty much open to anything.
Okay. Time for a trip report.