By Veronica Anderson, SYI Facebook Group Member
So you’re thinking about visiting Iran? GREAT! Read my advice:
It’s been a week and a half since I returned from the beautiful land of Persian history and Iranian culture. I was there for 18 days and took 1400 videos and pictures of the gorgeous people, landscapes, textures, and foods that can only be experienced in Iran. I have no idea how I am going to filter it down enough to share with the world because even the dust was too pretty not to share. I’m lucky enough to be married to an Iranian and to have visited many of his friends and family during these days and their warmth and acceptance overwhelmed me beyond words. From the moments I spent traveling alone, however, I know that Iranians in Tehran, Shiraz, and Esfahan (at least) are so excited to know foreigners. One man in a bazaar told me that he felt lucky to have met an American and that is something so unique about Iranians – they are so interested in the world around them and outside their country’s borders. The hospitality I encountered was legendary and the people, genuine. As an architect who has traveled to more than twenty other countries I can say that this is the most beautiful place I have ever been with landscapes and structures that repeatedly dazzle and amaze. Truly it is a life-changing experience to visit this country and it is well worth the effort it takes to access its hidden beauties.
FOR THE LADIES, I want to say here that the necessary costume of a tunic and scarf is well worth the trouble. If you want, you can break the rules, tourists are largely allowed to behave how they like, but a reasonable traveler will understand that this is disrespectful. Buy some mantous (the special jacket women wear to cover themselves) and bring them home as souvenirs. Everyone in your office will admire your artistic look. Grab some beautiful new scarves (or bring some from home) and let them hang off of your ponytail as a symbolic gesture. After a week the novelty of this gesture became annoying since it made me hotter, but I have to say that it was worth it. Many Iranian women are walking in the street with 3/4 of their hair showing and I even saw a woman defiantly walking with her scarf around her neck. In addition, if you are visiting in the summer and are worried about the extra covering making you hot, bring a portable water bottle and one of the neck scarves with a built in ice pack. This will save you a lot of suffering.
Read more in See You in Iran facebook group