„You can call day after tomorrow if you really want,“ the lady shrugged her shoulders.
So did I and collected my visa in two days.” Catch up with the previous post HERE.
So my Great Plan looked like this:
- I will go [from Kyrgyzstan] to Uzbekistan.
- I will apply for Turkmen visa.
- I will go to Turkmenistan and prove that I have the permission to go to Iran.
- I will go to Iran.
My Real Life looked like:
- I went from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan. Checked!
- I applied for Turkmen visa. Checked!
- I didn’t get Turkmen visa [read the most tearful story HERE].
- My Uzbek visa expired and I had to escape to Kazakhstan.
- I flew from Kazakhstan to Iran.
Do you know this game – Who Is Going To Sit Next To You On Board? Is he talkative, is she anxious, is he nervous, is she a child – you never know! This time I got pretty lucky as my neighbour turned out to be an Iranian Famous Pianist. So let’s make it clear. Our flight looked like this: me sitting and watching videos from his phone [about his concerts]. He sitting and pointing to his piano in the video and saying “piano”. Or “water” [don’t ask]. These two words he knew in English were more than enough to also have great conversations about history and politics. And hey, it was twice as much as I knew Persian so, bravo. The flight was cool and fast.
We landed in Tehran and I must admit I was a bit anxious. I felt that whatever is going to happen in Iran, it’s gonna be extra memorable. Every woman around me put on their scarfs or hijabs, and I did the same. I had no idea how much hair I need to cover, what happens when my scarf falls down etc. The Famous Pianist looked at me, put his thumbs up and we left the plane.
Two hours later.
I have already met my Couchsurfing host. We are at the big market because I’m in need of something more covering than just long-sleeved blouse and jeans.
Who doesn’t know then 90% of the time I hate shopping. Luckily my host seemed to enjoy it a lot more, so he was running from one seller to another, negotiated about the prices, checked the materials and colors, and I was just exhausted [but grateful] walking after him. Luckily there were also some raw almond sellers and other cool people to give my attention [and money] to.
Did you know that Tehran is big? And I mean, BIG. After our shopping tour, a walk to one mosque and lunch break in the local cafe we took a metro, 2 buses and a taxi and just 3 hours later reached my host’s family house [well okay, it was out of the city they said but I couldn’t really make a difference].
So what was my first impression about Iran?
Good. Really good. Still, at the same time I had a feeling like I switched from bicycle to monocycle and had to learn how to ride again. So many new rules, norms and traditions.
But do you know what I currently have but didn’t have back then?
[To be continued…]