By Naveen Rabelli, SYI Facebook Group Member
The thoughts of love and warmth of the people I met in Bandar Abbas were still afresh in my mind as I was heading towards Shiraz. At the same time I did have feelings of insecurity of not knowing about the road ahead………. but not for too long. The sight of unending and beautiful stretches of roads & contiguous mountains giving me company filled my mind with only words of appreciation of beauty of nature around. Visiting oldest Zoroastrian village to meeting happy families holidaying with tents/cars to visiting other historic places….this journey too is filled with so many memories that I am lost how & where to start.
Iran Diaries – 2 : Journey from Bandar Abbas to Shiraz
The thoughts of humanity & need for one common brotherhood were ringing in my mind. On one hand I was experiencing the best of hospitality in this part of the World while I hear another sad incident of a bomb blast in Brussels in another part of the World that took away lives of innocent people. Surely by the people who really have no idea of how beautiful human life is and what it means to love another human being for what they are, going beyond the barriers we have created.
A visit to Persipolis was like manifestation of that very thought I was having at the back of my mind. The difference just being that people way back around 2500 year ago already had such a harmonious idea and they celebrated it with people from across the World during those times. Persipolis then was a place for people from different countries to come and celebrate New year( end of Winter and start of Spring). The entrance is called “ Gate of all Lands” which is 20 meters High and about 5 mt wide. The stone carvings depicted about the lifestyle, culture, gifts etc of people from different lands. Right from people in India to Greece to Egypt to Babylon to Africa were depicted on these walls. This place shows how people from far off places used to come and how the local people,the local Kings welcomed these guests highlighting the hospitality nature.
Another very fascinating aspect on a totally different note that I have noticed here about Iranian present culture is the profound respect they have for their poets. Poets Saadi and Hafeez, have made a deep impact on their lives. Their tombs are so beautifully made that I was spell bound and they are frequently visited by the locals here. When I visited Hafeez’s tomb, it gave me a sense of calmness, there was something in the atmosphere I could feel. I was instantly relaxed, forgot about my worries and just fell in love with the moment.
When you try to relate these things, to present Iranian hospitality and warm welcoming nature, you feel it is obvious. For example, it should not surprise you, when I tell you that I met my host( Pey Man) on the streets of Shiraz who welcomed me to his house and made me feel at home. Made sure my vehicle is well parked, his family took every chance to make me part of their new year celebrations and dinner.
Our experiences here are in total contrast to the view that is usually opined about people here by media or the news we read at our places. Before coming here, my impressions of Iran were based on the same sources, and all people around me had warned me hell number of times to reconsider this trip of mine from Iran as it may not be safe.In reality, I see families having picnics like any other place, environment here is very relaxed and laid back, no one tries to force you to buy anything, you being a tourist. Women feel respected and I have not witnessed instances of ogling or misbehavior. I thought I was being biased but realized I was not when I met other Belgium travelers whose thoughts too resounded with mine.“ I dint expect Iran to be like this” said Hannes a Belgium tourist, who is travelling Iran with his girl friend Sofie. Sofie said “ In Iran, I feel very secure as a female traveler, and am completely relaxed”. She further added that she was touched when people approached her to say sorry for what happened in Brussels (Bombing).
Travelling thus is one way to overcome these misunderstanding and truly appreciate or understand one another for what we actually represent. I am fortunate to be able to travel with the support of so many people in my life. So I want to make sure to share my stories this way to lessen that gap of miscommunication or misrepresentation or misunderstanding. May be this is only one side of the story, but surely is indeed a factual side.
At last, not the least I got my visa extended. Here I leave with a heavy heart as parting away with friends I made here, as always is hard. And this line from Saadi rightly captures my emotions ” Let me cry,when I part with my friends like the Roaring Rain”.
Read more in See You in Iran facebook group