Tehran Alley Tehran Birthday Party Tehran Cafe Tehran Park Havan Iranian Bank and Mosque Haghani Park Cafe Mahi Old-School Elevator Gym in Tehran Shahrak-e-Gharb Freeway Necklaces Filmro Iranian Cinema Set Coffee Tehran Tehran Apartment Mahestan Buildings Sews in Parking Lot
An alley in central Tehran. You can still find little pockets of old Tehran. The brick wall to the right houses an older building and garden from Tehran's decades past.
At a friend's birthday party. Parties are again prone to being broken up by the moral police and therefore more dangerous than before as you can be arrested for attending them. As part of the new campaign to save "Hijab and Chastity" the moral police is back on the streets enforcing their Talibanesque Islamic codes. They are made up of three units: 1. Make-up Unit (fighting nail polish, lipstick, tan); 2. Relationship Unit (fighting premarital relationships. They can lock up your car for as long as two months and fine you as much as $2000 if you're caught with your girlfriend!); 3. Hijab Unit (enforcing Islamic dress code on both men and women). Of course all this has nothing to do with Islam, and everything to do with oppression for the sake of reminding everyone who is in power. And rest assured that the youth continues to revolt and disobey!
At a cafe in central Tehran. The walls were featuring photos of Iranian actors and filmmakers, as well as American movie stars.
A playground at a local park in Saadat Abad. Tehran's mayor has been very active in recent months. You can't help but to notice his many projects around Tehran who are designed to draw attention to themselves. Be it paintings and murals on the walls, new pavements, new parks and playgrounds and new shopping centers and museums. As the Iranian saying goes, he's doing "khod shirini" - making himself appear sweet! So one might argue all this is not without reason. He could be setting himself up to be the next President of Iran. On a side note, the cable running down the photo above belongs to a neighbor's satellite dish. You see these loose cables everywhere around Iran. According to a satellite-man, they serve as warrants for the government to get in your house (satellites being illegal)!
My grandmother's 50 year old havan! Havans are used to press saffron in. You basically put saffron inside, add some hot water and beat it with the stick so as to bring out all its flavor and coloring. You then pour it on white rice or other dishes deserving of the touch of saffron. There's also a Persian saying that says such and such is like "pressing water in a havan." Pressing water without any saffron with that stick is pointless -- so doing such and such would be as pointless. (ab dar havan koobidan.)
These days you can't go to a neighborhood where there are no banks in each of its blocks! Branches of various public and private banks have opened up and spread faster than branches of Subway and Starbucks in the US. To their credit the banking services have improved immensely over the past few years. You can now pay all your bills online. You can also transfer money online. Debit cards have also come out in loads and you can now shop with them at your local restaurant, cafe, meat and poultry shop or jewelry store. I never understood much about how economies function, but for some reason I have a hunch that all these banks with such high interest rates (that are still lower than the inflation rate) are not exactly a sign of a good economy. But I could be wrong.
The "world's largest laser show" is set to open in Haghani Park in central Tehran, right next to the upcoming Museum of the Holy Defense, dedicated to the Iran-Iraq war. Ironically the massive museum looks a lot like the Holocaust museum in Berlin, but much bigger, and again, to the mayor's credit, nicer!
Cafe Mahi (Fish) somewhere in central Tehran.
An old-school elevator that reminded me of my childhood. When I was growing up in Tehran in the 1360s (1980s), not many buildings had elevators. The ones that did had elevators whose buttons looked like this. And as kids, I remember us being so excited when we would go to a place that had an elevator that we would press all the buttons and be entertained by going up and down the building. These days you find elevators that are much more modern in buildings that are much taller than 7 stories high. And naturally using elevators is no longer as exciting!
I signed up at a new gym that has opened up nearby. Everything is similar to the public gyms you find in the US, except that it's not mixed. Women go in the daytime while men attend at night time. At this particular gym all the equipment is imported from the US (probably via Dubai) and you see stickers of an American flag on each piece with a line that reads "designed and engineered in the US." The trainer plays a wide range of songs from local pop singers to Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, 50 Cents and his favorite: Michael Jackson.
A freeway in Shahrak-e-Gharb that is yet to open and be fully functional.
A personal collection of niceties on a friend's wall.
An Iranian-made car mount for film shoots. Not exactly the safest structure. The whole crew, including the movie stars ride it on the street. There has been casualties in the past, but that doesn't stop future productions from employing its services. Shooting films in Iran is dangerous on many levels. Nowadays you can be an acclaimed award-winning filmmaker and be arrested and imprisoned for three months for a film you haven't made yet, but were in the process of making. Google Jafar Panahi in the news...
Set Coffee somewhere in central Tehran. Decades (close to a century) before Starbucks, Set Coffee was serving Tehranis with its mix of the best local and import coffee beans.
A friend's apartment.
An angle on the new Mahestan apartments in Shahrak-e-Gharb in west Tehran.
Somewhere in the world, an old man is sewing for living in a 4 square meter shop located inside a parking lot.
Blasting an underground Persian rap song by rapper-in-exile Shahin Najafi at 1:00 am while driving through Parkway Square in Tehran on a rainy night.