Calendar Home
Previous Day

January 7, 2003

Next Day
What American could forget that for 500 days beginning in November 1979 Revolutionary Guards held our embassy personnel as hostages? In Tehran the most interesting site for us is the Den of Espionage (the old American embassy) now signposted with anti-American graffiti in man-sized letters. "We will make America suffer a severe defeat" -or- "The US is the most hated nation after the occupier of Qods (Jerusalem)" -or- "When the US praises us we should mourn." These words are written in English on the outside wall for any Westerner to read. The Iranian military converted the embassy into a base. However, the people we've met so far aren't anti-American. We feel as if Iran has an opposite nature of its Middle Eastern neighbors.Whereas countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen have pro-American governments and anti-American populaces, Iran has an anti-American government and a pro-American populace. They smile when they learn we're American and most people tell us about a relative living somewhere in the States.
Tehran, population 12 million, reduces anyone to insignificance; any visitor will be lost at least once. The Alborz Mountains, the "North Star" of Tehran, serve as a dependable landmark.
The Iranian government's version of the Liberty Statue (a mural on the wall of the old American Embassy). The post office issues stamps commemorating the takeover of our embassy by Revolutionary Guards.
What's on the menu? You can find chicken or minced meat kebabs in every restaurant along with a hearty yogurt called mast. The fancier dishes are chicken baked in rice or khoresht, a meaty stew served with chopped rice. Our favorite dish is fesenjan, a meat or chicken stew made with pomegranite juice, walnuts, aubergine, and cardamom.
Tehran takes its place as one of the world's worst driving locations unless you're a maniac. We've seen many motorcyclists driving down the wrong way, vehicles weaving without regard to lanes, and tailgating as the customary way to follow the vehicle ahead. Our driver plunges into roadways without making eyecontact or looking for oncoming traffic.