DOP Iran Soccer Perspolis Esteghlal Kitchen Flowers Dirty Window Pasargad Bank Rear Window Electrician Azadi Cinemas Jigar Kabob Golshifteh Farahani American Tourists in Iran Cinema Verite Festival Richard Leacock Mullah Film Student Peter Wintonick Ab Goosht New Building 24hr Drugstore No Traffic Darband Iran Party Bike Taxi Driver Lamsey Restaurant Iranian-Hyphens Iran Air Sticker Lavizan Park Cheap Plastic Cups Iranian People
Even the most affluent neighborhoods have one of these shady-looking Electricity Hubs owned by the Department of Power. Furthermore, construction of new apartment buildings continues in every block despite economic demons. In a few years Tehran will be entirely owned by Real Estate investors.
You know how folks gather around to watch a football game everywhere else in the world? They do the same here. And by football I mean soccer. The two rival Tehran soccer teams are Perspolis (official name being Pirouzi) and Esteghlal.
Flowers, kitchen sink and the window beyond.
My car window the day after I had a carwash. It's impossible for it to stay clean for more than 2 hours. There is so much dirt everywhere -- mainly from all the construction of roads, buildings and the smog of 3.4 million cars on the roads. I've come to associate Tehran with dirt.
I find it rather ironic that a year ago US pushed UN to put sanctions on Iranian banks. A year later most Iranian banks are unphased by the sanctions while some of the major US banks have gone bankrupt as some others have been saved by a bailout. Washington Mutual now regrets putting a "Presidential Order Block" on my account for just checking my balance from Iran. Bad Karma Wamu!
A Western observer might find men's interaction in public rather peculiar. There is a lot more touching, kissing (on the cheek) and holding hands than a place like West Hollywood, and yet it's all just friendly affection between two men. Think Borat.
A hole in the wall place in Zargandeh run by a dude named Mohsen who apparently is the only guy who can fix broken adapters in northern Tehran.
The 10 story tall Azadi movie complex screens the latest in Iranian films on multiple screens. It's good to see it be almost always sold out. Tickets are 2000 Tomans a piece ($2).
Hope you're not a vegetarian. Livers and such being prepared for the grill to produce liver kabobs.
I'm back to settling for crappy DVDs from street vendors. A highly anticipated movie in Iran is Riddley Scott's Body of Lies. It stars one of Iran's sweetheart movie stars Golshifteh Farahani. Though she will be missed in Iran, I hope she goes far in Hollywood and conquers tinseltown with her charm.
I have met a number of people through this very site. But just recently I met an American girl and her boyfriend who were visiting Iran as tourists. I was so inspired and touched by her story that I asked her to write something for this very blog. So click here to read what an American tourist has to say about Tehran and how life goes on here...
The 2nd Cinema Verite: Iran International Documentary Film Festival took place October 15-19. Over 45000 tickets were sold. Some 100 filmmakers, distributors and producers were official guests of the festival from a wide range of countries; including USA, Canada, Finland, Poland, Sudan, France, England, Australia and many more. So if one were fluent in English one might find oneself working for the festival.
The festival's guest of honor was the legendary documentary filmmaker Richard Leacock, 87. He was very well received. He has made some great films in his time, including Primary about John F. Kennedy's primary campaign. He was also Robert Flaherty's cameraman. I am happy to have met him. Plus through him I am now only one handshake away from JFK and Robert Flaherty (Nanuk of the North).
The most stubborn film student I have ever met in my life is also a mullah. He managed to get interviews with most all foreign guests for his thesis film. I expect him to go far in the Iranian film industry.
Canadian documentary filmmaker Peter Wintonick being interviewed at the Carpet Museum.
Ab Goosht (Meat Juice) is a traditional Iranian dish. We had some at Azari Cafe in southern Tehran. I realized it was my first time in southern Tehran since the first month I came back here. It goes to show how little northern and southern Tehranis mingle.
Another 5 story apartment building two blocks down has shaved off another 15 minutes of direct sunlight from our living room.
24-Hour Drugstores are common in Tehran. Unlike cities in Europe where I once spend hours looking for cold medicine.
A rare minute during the day when Pasdaran Avenue is not packed with cars. The traffic here gets so bad that even Taxis who are supposed to work the Pasdaran route refuse to work in it. I have a feeling that Tehran will become a giant parking lot in less than a year. Rush hour is now from 7am to 9pm!
Darband in northern Tehran is always a good spot for meeting up with friends, family or whatever. The weather is nice, the food is good and the atmosphere is ever so lively.
At a house party in northern Tehran I met a number of interesting people. Including a group of 10 architecture and urban planning students from London. Foreign guests often come to Iran expecting something completely different that what they end up experiencing. This is more than anything the failure of Western media.
This reminds me of the afternoons of my childhood when we would wait for neighbors to wake up from their siestas so that we can take on the streets with our bikes minutes past 4pm.
A taxi driver telling me a dirty joke I dare not repeat!
The creators of the new Lamsey restaurant on Valiasr Blvd. were just too creative with their menus, napkin holders and chairs.
I met up with a group of Iranian-hyphens; young Iranians who used to live somewhere in the West much like myself. As one new friend pointed out, it's not certain if we're here for Iran or for ourselves. But I like to think that we are here for Iran as Iran is here for us. I also met a group of non-Iranians who were in Tehran to study Farsi.
I was contemplating whether I should use Iran Air for an upcoming trip. For some reason this image is not very comforting and may persuade me to use a safer carrier.
Lavizan park in north-eastern Tehran is a good place to go for a hike. There are miles and miles of roads within the park and you are surrounded by the city from almost all sides.
These tiny plastic cups are used for everything; from cold water to hot tea. Though holding hot tea in one is a challenge. You feel that the tea will melt through the thin wall of the cup. It calls for a massive law suit by US standards.
There are no trick or treats on Halloween in Iran. In fact no one really knows what that is. But Iranian halloween is more about throwing costume parties which can be fun. But then again, everyday is halloween out in the public. Everyone is wearing masks -- by force or by choice.

This has been a month where I've met the most amount of foreigners -- khareji -- in Iran. They range from the guests of the festival, to the American couple from Boston, the meeting of the expats, the random group of British students and the traveling couple from Slovakia. The general feeling you get from their experience traveling to Iran is that Iran is not the "evil" country you hear about in a John McCain stomp speech. The more people travel to Iran the more they will realize that regardless of some of the missteps of our government, Iran is a welcoming place, its people are hospitable, kind and simply put... normal. So I ask all US citizens visiting this blog to say no to more of the neo-conservative politics of hate and fear by voting for Senator Barack Obama on November 4.

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