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Old 06-04-2014, 11:08 AM
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Surprised that the "American loving " citizens of Iran seem to change on election day in Iran.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:12 AM
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
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Originally Posted by Teddy52 View Post
Surprised that the "American loving " citizens of Iran seem to change on election day in Iran.
Please stop & take your political agenda to the politics and controversy forum.
This is the travel forum.
Poster visited Iran and wrote a beautiful review of her experience there. She is not trying to convert anyone.
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:53 PM
Location: Eretz Yisrael
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Originally Posted by aquietpath View Post
Very interesting, and a lot different than how I imagined it would be. When I think of Iran, my first impression is of all the hate-filled men chanting in the streets against America that the media shows. I'm really surprised to hear differently. Glad you had a good time, and thanks for sharing.
fyi fwiw
Actually for nearly every Muslim country it's orchestrated with a small amount of people using cameramen who take very narrow shots which later on are photoshoped and then sent to the media. Once the cameramen leave so do they. If this were a different sub-forum I'd post some of the before and afters I've found on the net.
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ukiyo-e View Post
I just returned from my 17-day tour of Iran and I have to say, it's the most fascinating country I've ever been to. The history and culture, the art, mysticism, and poetry, the friendly people - it has it all. Instead of going into a lot of detail, which you can find on travel blogs, I'll just list some major points from my trip:

1) Americans have to have a registered guide, and going on a tour is the easiest way to get around. However, we were a bit surprised how much freedom we had to wander around bazaars and cities on our own, though we were asked not to take taxis and go too far away from our hotels.

2) Iran is SAFE. I repeat, it is SAFE to travel there. In fact, I felt safer there than in most US cities, and many of the older people (one was 87 and 4 were in their 70s) who had traveled to dozens of countries said they felt safer in Iran than almost any other place they had traveled, particularly Europe. The only place we were advised to be cautious was Kerman after dark, as it's on the main drug route out of Afghanistan and there are more drug addicts in that area who might try purse snatching from motorbikes.

3) I could have gotten away with tighter pants and shorter tops. Although women there are required to observe hejab (modest dress), many Iranian women in the more liberal cities wear leggings, and the scarves sit pretty far back on their heads. I bought a lightweight navy blue lab coat which was perfect, as it had some large pockets for my belongings, it was long, and it wasn't too hot. Same days I wore long tunic tops I had, but I had left three tops at home that I thought would be too short, which actually weren't. Head scarves are mandatory everywhere; Tehran is more liberal dress-wise than most other cities, but we saw Italian tourists "under-dressed" everywhere and no one paid them any attention.

4) MANY Iranians are not very devout Muslims. They call themselves "modern Muslims," and if your guide takes you into certain shops, the owners will lock the door while your group is visiting and women are invited to take off their head scarves and overcoats. They actually reminded me very much of Protestants who only go to church on Easter and Christmas. Although Shiites are only called to prayer 3 times a day as opposed to five for Sunnis, almost everyone we saw out on the streets kept right about their business when the calls to prayer sounded. Iran also has a very high per capita consumption of alcohol. As a tourist, you shouldn't go looking for it, but the locals have no trouble buying it, and I'm sure there's some problem with alcoholism. And sadly, there is a fair amount of opium addiction, aided in part by the steady supply coming through the country from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

5) Iranians LOVE Americans. I don't just mean they like us, I mean some of them actually accost you on the street and become your new best friend. When they hear you speaking English, they'll ask where you're from, and if you say America, next thing you know they're asking you how you like their country, telling you how much they love Americans, how they wish our governments got along better, and they'll ask to pose with you while a friend or family member takes a photo. The attention is almost minor-celebrity like; in fact, after two weeks we were actually getting a little tired of it because it took a lot of time to converse with them, but since they were so interested in us, we always obliged them. Iranians are famous for enjoying picnics, and more than once a family invited us to share their food when we encountered them at some of the famous sights, and some elderly Iranian ladies gave a flower from their bouquet to an elderly woman in our group. A young woman thought another elderly woman in our group looked like her grandmother, and held her hands repeatedly and seemed overjoyed to see her. I had worked to learn some Farsi before I went, but the communication between people who didn't speak each others language was loud and clear.

6) As a society, Iranians are highly educated, very cultured, and very peaceful and family-oriented. Women make up most of the college student population; some are members of Parliament and there are women in law. However, they don't have all the legal rights we do, the most egregious being that their testimony in court only counts half as much as a man's. But this is a very unpopular stance among younger people, who make up the majority of the population. But within the family, they hold a very egalitarian position. Our guide, who was not only very knowledgeable, but very funny, said in Iranian homes the man has the last words, and those words are, "Yes ma'am."

7) One of my biggest surprises was how openly vocal many Iranians are about how they dislike their system of government. They don't like the Islamic leaders having as much veto power over the elected President and Parliament as they do, and wish there was a separation of religion and government. We repeatedly heard the former President Ahmadinejad referred to as a nutcase and worse. The current President, Rouhani, seems quite moderate and appears to be well-liked.

8) The Iranian Constitution guarantees the right to practice whatever religion you choose, with the exception of Baha'i, which is a Muslim offshoot that has some elements that are antithetical to the mainstream sects. There aren't many people practicing minority religions, but there are Jews (with a dozen synagogues in Tehran alone), Christians, and especially Zoroastrians, since that religion arose in the central part of the country near Yazd, where the flame in the current fire temple has been burning since about 400 B.C. Contrary to popular misconception, Jews are not persecuted in Iran, and a 2007 attempt by Israel to lure Iranian Jews out of the country with a $60,000 monetary incentive was a dismal failure. Iranians won't ask you what religion you are, and they don't care.

9) The UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO-recognized craftsmen make visiting Iran a cultural and historical delight. But in addition, the beautiful parks in the cities and even small towns make much of the country visually appealing. And the northwestern part of the country, near the Caspian Sea, is actually quite lush and verdant, with tea plantations, rice paddies, and many fruit and vegetable farms that grow produce other than the dates, figs, olives, walnuts, and pomegranates so common in other parts of the country.

In short, if you have any interest in going, DO SO. I had read before I went that visitors from one tour company have consistently remarked that of any country they'd visited, Iran was the most positively surprising, and even knowing that people felt that way before I left, I was still surprised at how vastly my trip exceeded my expectations.

#2........in most American cities, is it .

required to have a registered guide?
would you be asked to not take taxis or venture far from the hotels?

( you might be " advised", but you didn't use that word)

"asked" can also mean "demanded "
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:32 PM
Location: Colorado
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Originally Posted by ukiyo-e View Post
I just returned from my 17-day tour of Iran and I have to say, it's the most fascinating country I've ever been to.
How many others have you been to?
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:43 PM
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More observations by American journalists traveling in Iran


Last edited by golfgal; 06-04-2014 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:25 PM
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
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Fabulous review -- thanks for posting it! I just got back from a two week trip to Dubai, UAE and Muscat, Oman with a college friend of mine (both of us are female) and we experienced very similar situations to you, except we didn't have to cover our heads except in a mosque. They were absolutely fascinating countries too! We had a Pakistani couple approach us and ask if we would be willing to take a picture with the wife (we did), and we also found that the people of the UAE and Oman were VERY welcoming to Americans, even though they often initially thought we were British. We also felt VERY safe in both countries.

I need to add Iran to my list of places to visit, as it sounds absolutely fascinating (we DID get to see Tehran from the air!)...and for the record for the person who was inquiring above, I've been to 16 different countries on three different continents.
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