Tiles Documentary Persian Food Brand Name Shoes Budhha Anastasia Haydulina Small Business Bread Meat Pickled Goods Gated Community Turkish Food Bank Girls Doctors Wedding Fire Diabetics Fast Food Kid Water Traffic Dance Paintings Cheese Puffs Dating Berries Restaurants Vegetables Newborn Baby Skies
There's a big tile and mosaic industry in Iran. Just a random fact worth noting.
At a Q&A following a screening of the wonderful satirical documentary Tehran Has No Pomegranate at House of Cinema. Masoud Bakhshi's film about the history of Tehran and by association modern Iran and Iranians had something I hadn't seen in any other Iranian film; sense of humor.
Grandma's signature tadig. Tadig in case you don't know is rice burned to a crunchy perfection. You serve it alongside regular steamed rice (hidden underneath the outer shell) and stew. Most my American friends loved it, so I highly recommend you trying it out at your local Persian restaurant.
The latest in [counterfeit] brand name shoes for sale at the local athletics store.
The most creepy Buddha chillin' at a pottery shop.
My good friend Anastasia Haydulina anchoring live for Russia Today. It was great having her in our home -- even if remotely. I often wonder how my friends from back home would like Iran. It's a shame I didn't get to go to Moscow to visit her, and a shame Tony wasn't able to come to Iran and blog about it.
The new US sanctions are just dandy. Closing down one small shop after another, making people more dependant on the government that happens to get richer as the price of oil goes above $100 a barrel. You get them cowboy!
At the local noon sangak shop. One reason why no one ever goes hungry in Iran are these government subsidized "bread shops" that sell really cheap bread ($0.03 a piece). This particular type of bread is made when the dough is laid inside an oven filled with pebbles, thus the name "pebble bread."
A butcher preparing meat. These "protein shops" sell only Halal meat (the Islamic version of Kosher). Pork is considered Haram (not Kosher) and therefore illegal and not sold anywhere in Iran. So one might miss the taste of bacon on one's burgers.
Shallots, small onions, carrots, and cauliflowers chopped up and pickled along with other vegetables to make torshi. It goes well with most Persian dishes. It's refreshing to see homemade anything, let alone torshi.
Another one of them gated communities in northern Tehran. This one on Kaveh Blvd.
A young Turk working the salad bar at a Turkish fast food joint. The only language you frequently overhear people speak in Tehran other than Farsi is Turkish. This is a big change from Los Angeles where you hear more languages than you can point out.
The new US sanctions have frozen assets of all Iranian banks, including Bank Saderat, Bank Melli and Bank Tejarat. Also I am told that if I check my American bank account from Iran, the US government can freeze my account. It makes you question the effectiveness of such measures.
I've met someone with eyes as big as mine.
There are so many doctors in [northern] Tehran that you see them bundled up in packs in ever other building, with street signs that resemble small shopping centers. Many of these doctors are educated in the US and or Europe. And they make a point of pointing this out, as the German-educated dentist does (second sign up).
The mannequin in the back is waiting to get decapitated like the rest of them for not obeying the dress code and showing her hair which may in fact seduce some men here. (No, I'm not getting married, I was just walking by this store.)
In Los Angeles you're bound to run into a fire truck at least two or three times a week. At which point you politely pull over and let them pass in blazing speed. In Tehran, I see a fire truck once every two months, at which point no one bothers to pull over. This is scary considering the inevitable major Earthquake that is supposed to hit Tehran.
I ran into this hand-drawn poster depicting "signs that you have diabetics." I was surprised (and amused) to see the cartoon on the bottom left. "Decreased libido" reads the writing below it.
A mother feeds her child at a fast food joint.
I am yet to run into one of these filtered water stands that actually has water. It's so Iranian to have the right equipment and ideas, but not the follow up maintenance and services.
A biker found himself stuck in traffic. A rare site, as they try to weasel their way through traffic at any cost. Someone needs to teach those bastards that riding their bikes at night without their lights on does not extend the life of their lamps, but rather shorten their own lives.
A makeshift dance floor at a party. I have to confess that I am not a big fan of Iranian parties. All they do is listen to crappy music and force you to dance when all you want is a good conversation.
A painting by a female friend of mine. I truly believe that one unintended consequence of the Islamic regime has been raising a generation of women who are stronger, smarter, more well-rounded, independent-minded and free-spirited than women anywhere else in the world. By comparison the men are that much more dumb, weak and lazy.
Anyone who has grown up in Iran has fond memories of a childhood filled with Pofak Namaki (Salted Puffs, aka cheese puffs). They used to sell for 5 tomans when I was a kid, which was about the only thing you could afford when you were five. Now they sell for 250 tomans and you can still find them everywhere there's any sort of gathering.
A couple enjoying each other's company.
The mere sight of this will make the mouths of all Iranian expatriates water. Because for some reason the sour taste of these dried sour cherries, plums, and various berries whose English names I do not know, along with lavashaks (fruit rolls) tends to be the first thing you miss about Iran when you leave.
Darband, the popular destination just north of Tehran at the footsteps of Alborz mountains. You can choose from a number of restaurants and hukka-smoking joints and enjoy the nice albeit cold weather and the change of scenery and smell.
With winter cold approaching, you can make a refrigerator out of your balcony and store such goods as carrots and eggplants. Popular eggplant recipe for my vegetarian friends; BBQ eggplants, mix with tomatoes and garlic, cook and beat until soft and tasty, and you have yourself a dish from northern Iran called Mirza-Ghasemi.
My cousin's kid, baby Kiana, born on November 22nd. She's the first of the next generation carrying our family name. Pressure is on to produce some babies on my end! Hope she grows up in time of peace and not war, with more freedom of speech, choice, expression and thought awaiting her adult life. Either way, life truly goes on in Tehran...

If nothing else, we share the skies, the sun and the moon...

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