Valiasr Street Kakol Birthday Dance Car Accident Key Maker Second Hand Smoke Photo Gallery April Fools Chaghaleh Badoom Avid Express Old Paykons Ghaytarieh Dirty Freddy Sandwiches Beirut Hike Cafe du France Huge Ice Cream Lebanese Restaurant Car Wash Amir Mousavi Photography Old Chrysler Cameraman Western Journalist Shah Mosque -- Esfahan Praying Ali Qapu Castle Iranian Soldier Tourists Zayandeh Rood Sio-Se-Pol Iranian Highway Patrol Tehran
It's a joy driving through Valiasr Street and its tunnel of trees when there's no traffic.
It takes mad skills to show as much hair as possible from underneath a scarf. The great body of hair sticking out is kakol. My friend as seen through the glass table in the cafe over at the new Azadi movie theater complex.
A friend doing a knife-to-cut-the-cake-dance for his soon-to-be-fiance girlfriend's birthday.
A fatal car crash involving a Peugeot 206 on Imam Ali Freeway. People didn't just slow down to check out the accident, they triple parked their cars on the overpass, got out and stopped short of a picnic on the grass near the site. Iran is a leader in fatal car crashes with over 25,000 fatalities per year.
A locksmith's cart in Niavaran. Feel free to call his cell phone number if you need a key made.
I am still not a smoker, but I can safely call myself a second-hand smoker. I must inhale two packs a day considering how everyone around me smokes. I've given up suggesting they take it outside because I've been called an American "soosool" (sissy) one too many times!
A couple at Dey Art Gallery, hopefully realizing that not everyone with a digital EOS camera should call him or herself a photographer and if he or she does, he or she should definitely not put the photos on display at an art gallery and give each photo a pretentious name!
April 1st is on the thirteenth day of the new Iranian year, the last day of Nowruz, known as Sizdah-Bedar (Thirteenth-Be-Gone). Then there is "lie of the thirteenth" which one could consider the oldest prank tradition in the world; leading some others to believe that April Fools day originates from Iran! Needless to say, I still have the tip of my finger. Thank you to all who voiced their concerns!
A chaghale-badoom salesman distracted by the traffic.
Using Avid to edit is frustrating enough, let alone editing with pirated Avid Express. Specially if the computer keeps freezing or you keep losing all your work. It's really amazing how most of the so-called award-winning Iranian films are edited this way.
Three old Paykons collecting dust in a parking structure.
A rainy night in Ghaytarieh, as seen from the penthouse of an 8 story apartment building.
Freddy Kesafat (Dirty Freddy) is a burger joint similar to the taco stands in LA where you get none of that fancy fast food glitz and glamour and nice packaging, but twice the taste and grease, not to mention attitude at the counter - where Freddy himself takes your order and calculates the total using pen and paper. It is supposed to be one of the oldest sandwich shops in Tehran.
I don't know why, but this is how I imagine Beirut must have looked like during the 1980s. Must be the old Mercedes or possibly the concrete electricity poll.
Two men on a hiking trail north of Tehran.
At Cafe France on Gandhi Avenue. Police Chief Radan has warned of a more serious fight against "bad Islamic coverage," which is now being taken to cafes and private companies. At the height of hypocrisy, the former police chief fighting "immoral behavior" was caught drunk in an orgy with 6 women. Somehow that's not immoral, but a young innocent girl showing her hair is!
The ice-cream dude showing off his skills. The ice-creams sold on Valiasr Street are huge even by American standards. I somehow managed to eat all of it without spilling it!
At Bibi's Lebanese restaurant across from Mellat Park. You would think with all the close ties our government has with Arab countries such as Lebanon and Palestine, there would be more of a cultural exchange and more restaurants serving Arabic food. But there aren't many that I can think of. In fact, most people don't even know what hummus is!
The dude at the carwash looking very Godfather-like! I've never been one to wash my car frequently, but cars get so dirty so fast that it becomes a necessity to wash them.
Photos by painter/photographer/filmmaker Amir Mousavi were on display at Dey Art Gallery. I found his photos to be beautiful paintings done with a camera. The experience left me moved and made me forget all about the photo gallery from a few weeks prior.
An old Chrysler from the days when Iran was still a US friend. Though it has a few dents here and there, the overall condition is reparable. Someone just needs to take the initiative and start this baby up. Much like the US-Iran relations.
I helped my cousin shoot a "documentary" for a journalist from UK's Channel 4. I witnessed up close how at least this one Western journalist missed the big picture and presented an incomplete and false portrait of Iran. But perhaps he will make up for it by adding a well-researched and well-informed narration. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in the background.
As nice and worldly the gentleman directing the spot was, his "documentary" shoot didn't capture a single frame of truth or reality. Everything was set up -- down to the subject which he set out to follow. This was part his fault for not doing enough research, part the fault of his opportunist Iranian producer.
The Shah Mosque in Esfahan is a thing of beauty. It was built some 400 years ago by Shah Abbas Safavid. This is the entrance to the mosque located on the south side of the Naghsh-e Jahan Square -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside, there's a spot that if you stand on, any sound you make echoes seven times.
One of the shots set up in the Shah Mosque for the "documentary" -- distorted by a malfunction in my camera phone. A distortion fitting of the story being told.
A view of Ali Qapu Castle in Naghsh-e Jahan Square. Since Shah Abbas was a big fan of music, the castle was built in such a way that when musicians played in one room, their music would be heard in all the rooms of the castle. 400 years later, we have a government that deems showing of musical instruments un-Islamic and bans it from TV.
A soldier sitting by the pool in the middle of Naghsh-e Jahan Square. During the rule of Shah Abbas, the ancient Persian game of Polo was played here. The goal posts still stand on both ends of the field.
Unlike Tehran, it is common to see tourists in Esfahan. I was delighted to see (and meet) tourists from Germany, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands and England. But these tourists are rarely young. They're mostly retired couples. I guess as of right now young tourists don't have much of an incentive to come here. Young unmarried couples can't even stay in the same hotel room!
Three girls sitting by the Zayande Rood. A sign in the back reads "Welcome to Esfahan."
Sio-Se-Pol (33 Bridges) at dawn.
The Tehran-Esfahan freeway is now frequented with unmarked police cars such as this one that control the speed of travelers and issue speeding tickets to violators. You have to give credit when credit is due; Iranian Highway Patrol is doing a fine job of saving lives and enforcing traffic laws. This is a step in the right direction.

Squint your eyes and you might in fact find a patch of green in an otherwise concrete metropolis. I recently had a horrific dream where the US warplanes started bombing the capital. I've never been a supporter of Bush and his policies. I was against the war in Iraq from the beginning and I am strongly opposed to a war with Iran.

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