Iran: Tehran

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I spent less 48 hours in Tehran so don’t have a huge amount to post. We arrived late saturday night / sunday morning and the streets we empty – very ghost town like. It did make sense though – if ur not out boozing it up and busting a groove in a club somewhere why else would u be out?

After a few shoddy hours sleep in the Hotel Mashad(50,000 rials/bed) i poked my head out to Amir Kabir street and saw the opposite of what i saw on arrival. A lot of traffic. Not to the level of Bangkok/Delhi but still pretty busy.
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I befriended Joel & Tobi – 2 cool dudes who are making their way east. Joel, a frenchmen who quit his job in Quebec and is travelling until his cash runs out, and Tobi, a german who is making his way to Nepal to teach. Both are trying to get visas for Pakistan. Tobi says he wants to hitch hike a boat ride from Bandar Abbas to Mumbai!
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Despite taking the metro to north Tehran and watching the folks get into their fitness activities around the park, I only spent time in between Ferdosi & Imam Khomeini square. I’d planned to check out the Bazaar (meant to be massive – biggest in the world?) but never made it. I blame the Tehranians! 10 steps down the street and there we are having a chat 🙂

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Probably the most interesting person I met in Tehran was Aziz Ahmad – a gentleman from Afghanistan who was on holiday from his town Herat. He spoke English very well and told me how Afghanistan used to be a very popular destination for people heading Nepal from Europe. He said it was so safe that travellers used to sleep on the street. He said up until the Russians entered Afghanistan he used to run a very successful handicrafts/furniture business that exported to a lot of countries. When all the trouble gained momentum the travelers were less and it was harder to export his products. So, after a year of not working, he somehow made his way into importing tyres and eventually Mercedes Benz spare parts. Also I think he said they only got electricity & running water 10 years ago.
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I asked Aziz about the current situation in Afghanistan. He said something along the lines of the US are supplying weapons to the Taliban who kill Afghan people, whilst in the background the US mine for resources. For some reason I haven’t heard that side of the story on tv. Oh yeah, he said Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan.

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I’ll most likely head back to Tehran on the way to Tabriz, and will try to make an effort to see a little more.

Now, the late night train to Esfahan!