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Teheran, quite a ride

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This afternoon I visited the contemporary art museum which has a shockingly beautiful collection (van gogh, picasso etc.) and shockingly few visitors. Immediately afterwards my observation about contact with female Iranians was proven wrong when both an old lady and a group of younger ones initiated contact.

People who have seen me recently must have noticed that I stopped shaving. I did this out of politeness for my iranian hosts. Now it appears that they take it as an insult that a foreigner adapts his appearance in such a strong way because of iranian tradition. Therefore I’ve shaved this afternoon, which has as disadvantage that it singles me out as a tourist.

Teheran feels more expensive than it is in reality due to the large amounts (1 euro is 14.800 rials), but still I find the place quite pricy.

Tehran reminds me of Buenos Aires: both have a glorious past and are currently full with locally produced cheap Peugeot cars.

I had ‘dinner’ (kebab) in the north of Tehran with a member of the Iranian inventor association who developed a new kind of bike (100% transformation of energy into power for the back wheel). I met the guy on the street as he saw me struggling with a map of tehran. He’s a nice guy and we’ll meet again tomorrow. My way to the north of Tehran was quite exciting: I was waiting for a taxi when a motorbike stopped and offered a ride, which I accepted. This resulted in a manic half hour ride through Tehran (without helmets). As my blood pressure increased I could observe the following driving strategies:
– if your side of the road is full, switch to the other side (even when the road is physically separated in two)
– if a moving object appears in front of you: accelerate (breaking always is the last option)
– if there’s a big hole in the road: continue as normal, evade at the last possible moment
– (this one is from yesterday) if you miss your exit on the highway: revert until you get a second opportunity to leave the highway
It literally took me 15 mins to stop shaking after I stepped off. Chances of repeating this method of transport are slim.

Other noteworthy events: car crash between two cars with guests of the same wedding. Shop selling DELL products (it is strictly forbidden for anybody working at DELL to sell products to Iran) in front of the former USA embassy. The building is currently called ‘den of thieves’ and is decorated with paintings that display a less than favorable opinion of the USA.

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