Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Pizza lunch for two: 57,000 rials (~$5.70)
($1 US = 10,034 rials)
Bus from Quazvin to Tehran for two: 30,000 rials (~$3.00)
Chris and I got an expensive hotel last night for $66.00. We needed a little western feeling to re-coop and collect ourselves. We had Internet and BBC in the hotel room. It was glorious.
Today we decided to head for Tehran and skip the excursion to the Valley of the Castles. We didn’t have it in us to take a taxi on a winding mountain road for 110 kilometers and them be stuck in a small town. So here I am sitting on a rather hot, packed-full bus bumping along the highway to Tehran.
Hordes of young Iranians were gathered at the bus station. We had to push our way through the crowd to make sure we didn’t keep getting squeezed to the back of the line. A young man who helped us find the right bus to get from Qazvin to Tehran, was already on the bus. Chris and I were unsure about pushing and elbowing too much because we didn’t want to insult anyone. We slightly widened our stance, to keep from being pushed over as we stared longingly at the door of the bus. Seats were running out fast and this was already the second bus in the matter of a few minutes to fill up to the brim. What if the third bus to Tehran didn’t come for a while....or hours? This thought alone made me push and elbow a little more than usual. The heat of the day was hightened by the exhaust of the bus and my headscarf and hot, conservative clothing put me into a bit of “survival of the fittest” mode. Chris and I were going to get on that bus.
Suddenly, the man who helped us find the bus called out and waved. We pushed by a handful of people to get on. The man had saved us two seats. Relief and thankfulness swept over me. As we scooted into the dusty, sand crusted, torn seats, I heard him giggling and taking with his girlfriend and other friends.
In front of me a couple are cuddling and caressing one another. The young man has his arm around the woman’s shoulder. Her head is nestled in the crook of his arm. He gently strokes her face and the part of her hair that is showing. Kitty-corner from me, another young couple is doing the same thing, although I’m convinced they’ve snuck in a few kisses.
The bus is overflowing with hip, young Iranians; the new generation of Iran. Some young ladies have enough make-up on their faces that I could carve my name into it. This outward, public display of affection and western ideal of make-up is surprising to see but it also makes me feel like I could somehow communicate better with the individuals on this bus than the older individuals we’ve met so far in Iran.