Apple Computer, Dreamweaver Template Old Man Smoking Beans Statue Dolls Rainy Day Fog Driving Supermarket Taxi Electricity Cash Machine Santa Clause Christmas Tree Pool Truck Driver Winter Boots Walls Pizzeria The Longest Night Happy Birthday Mohsen Namjoo Beats Bird in a Birdcage Construction Site Couch The Magic Hour Books and Libraries Gardens Happy New Year Movie Theater
This is where all the magic happens. Beginning of each month I stare at the blank template that I've created for myself and wonder how it will look 30 photos later. This site also serves as a personal diary. I will have to continue it if and when I leave Tehran. I'm sure life goes on everywhere else.
The coolest corn-on-the-cob salesman you find this side of the Mississippi.
Baghali, not to be confused with spiced rocks. A winter favorite, Baghali is sold by street vendors across town, sprinkled with Golpar and lime juice. Served hot. You peel the outer skin and eat the hot mushy inside as you would sunflower seeds. Only its soft and not crunchy.
A random statue outside a restaurant. Surprisingly the female figurine is not obeying the dress code. I don't know why, but the mandatory dress code bothers me more than anything else this government does. Perhaps it's because it's so in your face that you're constantly reminded that you're living under an oppressive regime.
I am not entirely sure, but I think these are the official dolls of the Islamic Republic, dressed in a couple of traditional sets of clothes. What I cannot figure out is why the dude on the right is dressed exactly like Kim Jong-il of North Korea?!
A rainy day on our street.
Driving in a heavy fog can be exciting. Specially when you find yourself playing chicken with bikers who still think they're better off with their lights off -- going the opposite direction on a one-way street.
The City of Tehran has established chain super stores across town in various neighborhoods that sell everything and nothing. They're like Walmart without the price cut -- more like Walmart with a price hike!
A telephone taxi at a gas station. You dial 133 and can hire them from anywhere in Tehran. Don't let the extra 20 gallons of gas in a bucket in the trunk scare you though!
Electricity and water on a blue wall.
A woman in chador getting cash from an ATM. With absence of credit cards all transactions are done in cash. So I am always walking around with a load of cash which I use to pay for everything from food to electronic goods.

Baba Noelle (aka Santa Claus) on display at a local store. Because of the small minority of Iranian Christians you see the Santa Claus and the Christmas tree on display in various locations across town. But there is not much of a Christmas spirit. Not that I ever got into that back in LA!

Either way, allow me to wish all my friends back in Los Angeles and elsewhere around the world a Merry Christmas. Though by the time you read this, Christmas has already passed. So I can only hope that your Christmas was merry.
An empty pool that was probably last full before the 1979 revolution when you were allowed to have private pools outdoors. That said, back in the summer there were public pools for women that were heavily guarded with high walls, where trendy teenage girls would walk about topless.
The ever so dangerous inner-city trucks roam the streets past midnight carrying goods for construction and dumping them smack in the middle of streets and alleys. These are the vampires of the night with bad driving habits and huge blind spots. There will be blood.
Winter boots, the type girls tuck their pants in are now illegal! This makes them even more of a fashion statement. You can't really see it but this woman was wearing the sexiest black boots I have seen in years. Sometimes I think our government is really losing it. I mean, boots?! Come on!
I highly doubt that you will find a home or an apartment complex in all of Tehran that is NOT guarded by walls and fences. Why do Iranians feel the need to wall themselves in so much? Do we not trust each other a slightest bit?! Even past these walls you'll find more security measures; such as locks, chains, gates, alarms, etc.
At Romana Pizzeria, I had this vision of Tehran once again being filled with night clubs and bars where young people mingle, dance and meet. A vision that seems far reaching at best. Funny thing is, I didn't go to bars or night clubs that often back in LA, but I have never desired them so much as I do now -- in Tehran.
Yalda's Night is a pre-Islamic Iranian tradition where families and friends gather on the winter solstice and celebrate the longest night of the year -- the night after which the light starts gaining grounds on darkness. Christmas itself is said to have derived from the ancient Persian religion of Mithraism. There are some very blatant rip offs!
Even in Tehran you find strange objects in people's bathrooms. This was on top of a toilet flush tank (the type Al Pacino's gun was hidden under in The Godfather). Good place to wish a Happy Birthday to my friend Scott and others who have December birthdays, including my uncle in San Francisco.
Mohsen Namjoo was just recently labeled Bob Dylan of Iran by the New York Times. He has become a household name over the past year because of his clever anti-establishment lyrics and unique musical style. He is seen here accepting an award at an ceremony thrown by Chehel Cheragh magazine.
In the cold winter days of Tehran you cannot miss the red beats sold hot in every other street corner. From the vendors that bring us Goje Sabs in the spring and fresh walnuts in the fall comes the sweet taste of beats.
A pet bird named Mina who could sing and talk.
The entrance to the Milad Complex underneath the Milad Tower is under construction. The Milad Complex will feature a number of movie theaters, art galleries, conference rooms and cafeterias.
I had a great conversation with an old friend who now lives in Canada. Together we concluded that one thing that is missing from our lives out West are seeing homes that feel like home. Where a family has lived in for decades and you can feel and smell the memories they must have. I guess that's why most Iranian expats feel uprooted.
The sunset was making the building in the back glow like gold. I made its surroundings black and white to enhance it.
I come across a lot of libraries in people's homes. I think this is more telling of the type of people I find myself hanging out with than a statement on the reading habits of Iranians. That said, most best-seller books are translated within a month of their release and sold in Tehran. But unfortunately does not deliver to Iran...
The new buildings eating up the old baghs (gardens).
The Iranian calendar differs from that of the Western calendar. So there are no New Year celebrations on New Year's Eve. More importantly, no one shares this feeling you get when the year is about to end and you're about to start a whole new year, full with resolutions and whatnot. For a Calendar Converter click here.

A 1500 seat theater at the Milad Complex. I wondered what's the point if they're going to enforce strict Islamic dress code and conduct? It can never beat the Arclight Cinemas even though its much bigger and nicer. (Rollover: FLASHBACK, Archlight Cinemas)

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