An outlet of Boof fast food chain at IKIA (Imam Khomeini International Airport). IKIA is the largest airport in Central Asia. It opened last year, but was immediately shut down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards because the airport's security was outsourced to a Turkish company. It's currently operating at a third of its capacity. Roll over for Boof logo.
Love, new album by The Doors. An old door of an abandoned building in a semi-expensive neighborhood. Just the land behind this door costs around half a million US Dollars.
Unfortunately, there are no Apple stores in Iran. But there is however, this random graffiti on a random wall in a random residential neighborhood. If my computer breaks down, I might as well bring it here and pray to the Apple gods.
An old-school water fountain found at a carwash near my house. I am so gullible when it comes to tipping. When they look at me a certain way I give more of a tip thinking I have under-tipped. Much to the amusement of my friends here, I over-tip everyone from the waiters to the people washing my car.
At 6am on a weekday I took my car in and waited in line for the mandatory 1000 km service. Already, at only 3 weeks old, I had to have them fix the interior light, the doors and the gear box. After they were done, my clutch started making an annoying noise. Things you take for granted in the US number 217: reliable products and services.
A nice little statue resting on a heater. Don't worry, heaters are turned off during the summer.
A "bartender" pouring me a cup of Cantaloupe Juice at a "juice bar." No one calls it that. It's my own invention. I figured with the absence of bars, and drinking juice being the only drinking one does in public, these are therefore "juice bars." "So... what're you doing later tonight? Wanna grab fruit juice?"
Sometimes construction sites aren't as well constrained as in the US. There are no "hard hat" areas, or walls keeping you from entering a zone where your life might be in danger. Who needs to close off traffic when lifting tons of steel from one side of the street to the other?! Just let the cars drive right through everything.
A Jazz concert in someone's living room. Not to be confused with the "satan worshipping concert" which took place somewhere outside of Tehran where 230 young people were arrested. Things you take for granted in the US number 173: live music at a public place.
My kind of chicks. Later the moral police arrested them for showing legs and hair, wearing heavy make-up and also for having a mixed-sex party inside their box.
The literal translation of the word for "car alarm" in Farsi is "thief-catcher." A view of my car parked on a street; fully armed with a club and a newly installed thief-catcher.
Remains of a ton of Kabob that was served at a pool party, where no one actually got in the pool except for someone's kids. Reminded me of the good old times by our pool back in the house on Laurel Canyon where we played silent Marco Polo and ate burgers and drank...[sigh]... beer!
I wouldn't be surprised to find a steel entanglement everywhere beneath the surface of the city.
God forbid you need something done by a government bureaucrat. They make you go through a process from hell before they even begin to take care of your problem. Imagine DMV, but ten times worse, spread to most other sectors currently privatized in the US and elsewhere in the world -- but not in Iran.
Energy drinks such as Red Bull and Hype are as popular here as they were back in the US. I've even seen the Red Bull animation commercials in Farsi! Dough is my drink of choice (bottom left); it's yogurt mixed with water -- tastes much better than it sounds.
You can't really get to know a country until you have used its bathrooms. Just ask Tony. Most homes feature both an Iranian bathroom (above) and a "farangi" one (foreign-similar to the US). They both have a hose nearby that is very useful. Not sure why we don't have this in the US. My half-Portugese friend in Joser would love it.
I really wonder if anyone reads these captions. Do you read them or am I just wasting my time? According to my Google Analytics account I have had 838 unique visitors to my site since June 1st -- averages to only 9 visitors per day. Are you folks spreading the word? Should I continue?
A view of the Alborz mountains from above Borje-e-Sefid (Translation: The White Tower). Too bad the food sucked, or else this could have been a good spot to dine frequently. It's close to where I live.
A payphone high up on the roof of Borj-e-Sefid in Pasdaran, where you get a 360 degree view of Tehran. There's even a rotating restaurant like the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
I used to go to Razi junior high right across the street from the Eskan Towers on Mirdamad and Valiasr Streets. They used to be three of a handful of high risers in Tehran. Now high risers are everywhere. One of my earliest memories as a teenager is getting burgers and fries at the Eskan Restaurant. Roll over for this photo before color correction.
Running around after my gas ration card for three days, waiting in lines with my frustrated countrymen and dealing with officials who do not know what they're doing was one of the highlights of this month. I rather pay $5 a gallon and not have to deal with such things.
The man on the right is the embodiment of the religious working class who helped get Ahmadinejad elected in hopes of improving his life. Apparantly, it didn't work out so well for him. Here he sits on his second week of chasing after his gas ration card.
This here is what we call an "iPhone." Long before Apple came up with the mobile phone by that name. This one is an old-school version belonging to a residential building built in the seventies.
My grandma sitting on her chair in her living room. I try to visit her once a day regardless of what I'm up to. Because I know that no one else in this country will be as happy as she does when I take the time to pay a visit. That, and I like seeing her. She's my hero.
Last year, back in LA, my friend Melissa worked on the post-production sound for both Alpha Dog and Dead Silence. So you could imagine how surprised I was to find two black market copies of these movies sitting next to each other on someone's desk. (I swear Melissa, it's not staged!) Hollywood's global reach; at a dollar a piece.
I invite Ron Luce (seen here on CNN's God's Warriors) and all his little Christian followers to move to Iran, where things they're against can be punishable by law of the land.
At a water reservoir near the small town of Taleghan, about a 100 miles outside of Tehran, where I visited a few villages to find a location for a fellow filmmaker. The late Ayatollah Taleghani was born in a nearby village.
The door to the late Ayatollah Taleghani's home. Among his other beliefs he thought that the head scarf did not have to be mandatory. But unfortunately he died soon after the revolution and with him died his more moderate interpretation of Islam. So I was told. But he seemed like a nice man.
A group of 70 independent men and women live in small cabins among the trees in this valley near Taleghan, without any electricity or modern marvels. They are the Iranian version of the American Amish. No one bothers them, and they don't bother no one.

A view of Tehran from above the "White Tower" in Pasdaran. Gas rationing has made traveling impossible. I need to get out of this city more often. Before it really gets on my nerves...

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