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Returning to Iran.

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(Page, 1) Mohammed Emamy 18/11/02 Returning to Iran Returning to Iran after so many years, I was oblivious of what lay ahead other than a long plain journey. I tried to reconcile myself by reminiscing from memories of my childhood, but all I could remember were vague recollections in place of memories. Abruptly I awoke from my daydream with a stern methodical call of the tannoy to the departure lounge, and suddenly all my thoughts returned to the present. Would I get past customs? Will they accept my passport? If not, what then? I knew that the Iranian government was suspicious of outsiders. My apprehensions proved unfounded as I waited, jostling, trying not to lose my place in the bustling queue. My baggage was checked although not as thoroughly as I expected from a country that bans alcohol, music, literature, videos and all things western, none of which I possessed, fortunately! I staggered outside, somewhat stunned, into the bright sunlight of Iran. My mind was too occupied to pay attention to the many traders shouting, of weary children trying to attach themselves to my bags were all nothing but annoyances. Once I had managed to force my way into the first taxi I came across, I mistakenly thought that I had found sanctuary from the scrambling crowds, and took the opportunity to absorb the atmosphere. ...read more.


Although I was about to see the remnants of the darker days in Iran as soon as I left the refuge of the park. While above me the sky gradually filled with white as a storm gathered in the distance, neurotic gusts of wind plucked at the trees violently. I decided to scramble hastily onto the next bus and proceeded with my journey to my hometown of Isfahan. The bus took us on a circuitous route that passed close to the Iraqi border. The stage for what they now call the Iraqi imposed war, ruined tanks dotted the countryside as we drove through the dessert. An air of loss and death hanged over the region. The dessert was sad and empty, steeped in their agony. In the border areas painted slogans still portrayed the tragedy. Roses, blood and doves decorated lonely walls. A few hours later we reach Isfahan, the bus stops at the bazaar at the heart of the city long since closed. Shafts of moonlight shined through circular holes in the ceiling. I sensed I was in an another time, surrounded by sand-coloured stones. All the stores were closed and there were no relics of the modern age around us. It has the feeling of timelessness and history that belongs to Iran. ...read more.


Firstly the golden rule of travelling to the area, which is, "expect the unexpected". It has also changed my attitude to life, in the context that not to take anything for granted. Since I have witnessed the misfortunes some people have to endure, that to this day defeat my powers of expression. The experience has also changed me as a person in terms of helping others when I can, especially when I come across a lost traveller. My stay in Isfahan was epitomised by the charity I received from strangers and generosity so outlandish that my first reaction was one of shameful suspicion, even at times tiring of the almost unbearable politeness, harangued by Iranian hospitality. The welcome I received in Isfahan I would expect from few cities in the world. Yet I craved indifference in the Iranian people and knew that this was ludicrous, that it was ungrateful to complain of beneficence, However, Isfahanies have a sour reputation with their fellow Iranians. Their countrymen have a saying that states, "the city would be perfect if there were no Isfahanies in it". It is a fitting conclusion to a town supposed to be the least hospitable in the country. If Isfahan is the least friendly city in Iran, I will have an interesting time ahead of me next time I visit Iran. ...read more.

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