Iran So Far Away

Shiraz Travel Blog

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Having just crossed over the border into Iran from Turkmenistan - I got to start wearing my new outfit.
Mahaba to Iran ….

Iran - just writing this word means certain images spring to mind - devout muslim people living in a country where there are strict laws about wearing the hijap (head scarf), the 1979 Revolution, Ayatollahs, the student protest of 2009, but for me it also conjured up images of ancient Persian ruins in particular, Persepolis.

Iran is so incredibly different to what I was expecting. Upon arrival at the land border we had to dress very conservatively to ensure we had no trouble gaining entry and by conservatively I mean hiding ALL of your hair and neck flesh, wearing clothing that was loose and flowing and provided no shape, as well as wearing close toed shoes with socks to ensure no skin was seen.
A local woman outside of Mashad
Yes, to say I was concerned about wearing this ensemble in the high temperatures we have been experiencing, was an understatement.

After crossing into Iran (and waiting for Dan, our travel companion from America, to finish getting special attention and being fingerprinted) we had arrived. Iran is not at all like what I expected; and this was reflected in their attitude to tourists - rather than hostile they are hospitable to visitors and especially eager to meet Americans, as yearly there are 400 - 1000 American citizens that visit. This hospitality is seen not only in their actions of welcoming us here, but also in their faces.

I have decided that Iranian women are some of the most stunningly beautiful women I have ever encountered. Not only are their features beautifully accentuated with the makeup they wear (which everyone of them seems to wear), they are also very fashionable.
The friendly locals just saying hello
Black, blonde, streaks, the hairstyles that I have seen are always immaculate - yes that’s right, I have seen partial hairstyles. For all the information I seemed to have read in the west before this adventure about women being completely covered, the majority of women here do not all wear the full head scarves and a lot of them wear them pushed back showing off their tresses pushing the boundaries.

Furthermore, the loose fitting clothing has been replaced with fitted jackets and shirts - at least with the younger generation. The confines of their society are changing. It is a strange mix of old and new, with the black chador mixing in with the bright fitted clothing of others but each person; traditional or modern is interested in who we are and where we come from.

Meeting people when traveling is always one of the highlights, and in Iran I have encountered a lot of people.
Some of the friendly locals
Men, women, children; each one is interested in who we are and many come up to us to watch, listen to us talking, and better still have a conversation with us. Each meeting allows me to practice my limited Farsi and them their, often very good, English.

Since arriving in Iran, I have been to Mashad and Tehran and for the past few days I have been in Shiraz, home to Persepolis and the tombs of Darius I and Xerxes. This is hallowed ground for the historian in me and the weather has been very good - hot with a chance of hotter in the afternoon.

I have updated my style since arriving - no longer confined to the black scarf; I am now wearing bright blue. I am trying to blend in more with the locals, however it is proving a little difficult as although I have been wearing the garb, I still don’t look as natural in the scarf and often it moves and by the end of the day I end up with a complete mess of hair.
Iranian mother and child
I have a deeper appreciation for the women who wear these scarves seemingly with ease. I have been trying to get pointers off the local women, much to their delight, but as of yet I am at a loss. Still I am here for a while longer, so hopefully by the end of this visit, I will have it all sussed …. well I can dream can’t I?

So rather than writing a blog about what I’ve seen, I’ve taken the time to write about what I have experienced and how welcomed I feel here. ‘Iran So Far Away’ as the 80’s song by Flock Of Seagulls states, but really they are not so far away from you and I, but quite close in their fashion, their hopes and dreams and I am excited to have longer to spend in this wonderful country.

Haley Mam Non from Shiraz
hauteboy says:
I finally made it to Iran! Had to use my UK passport. :)
Posted on: Oct 01, 2012
hauteboy says:
so disappointed we didn't get to go to iran :(
Posted on: Jun 05, 2012
cneoridium says:
My friend here wears a hijap that's sort of pre-made - you put it on more like a hat than tying it... That might be the secret! : )
Posted on: Jul 24, 2010
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Having just crossed over the borde…
Having just crossed over the bord…
A local woman outside of Mashad
A local woman outside of Mashad
The friendly locals just saying he…
The friendly locals just saying h…
Some of the friendly locals
Some of the friendly locals
Iranian mother and child
Iranian mother and child
photo by: Vlindeke