Tomorrow I'm taking a week long trip to southern Iran. I will be going back and forward between Bandar Abbas and a small island called Gheshm. It's pretty close to Dubai. I've never been there but from what I've heard tourism there revolves around shopping handmade goodies, beaches and seafood, and my favorite part is that you get to see dolphins, sharks and camels. I love camels, they're so beautiful with those eyelashes. I hoping for really good pictures to come out of this trip.
This is also the first trip I will be taking with my grandmother and let me just say the party is on. We are two party gals who live for travels, good food, irresponsible spending and hookah...maybe we'll even find something decent to drink.
I won't have any internet access during this week because I'm leave my love, the Apple, at home so I can't stay connected but I think it's a good opportunity to bond with my camera. I will share my adventure with you all next week. Till then, tout a l'heure.
It's been two and a half month since I came to Iran and I've honesty had the best time. I feel like I'm in paradise. I sleep better. I laugh more. My hair has more volume. I don't know how I'm enjoying everyday without even trying.
At the same time, somethings are happening that are so horrible I just don't know how to deal with it. People are consistently under pressure and stress. Since I've been here, five of our friends or family members have passed away after battling cancer. 2 of them we're under 25 years old, none had reached 50.
I decided to do some research on the matter and here's what I found. Cancer is the 1 of 3 leading causes of death in Iran. Each year Iranians pay $3.2 billion for cancer treatments.
The first reason that comes to mind is the air. The air pollution in Iran makes it almost impossible to breathe. Thousands of people are dying before they even get sick. Air pollution is their cause of death. Since the international sanctions Iran is producing their own low-quality gasoline. Many claim it contains lead and it smells like gas in the air at all times. Even in the town I'm staying in, which is an hour outside of Tehran, has a smaller population and used to be praised for it's cool and fresh air, I can smell it.
An other cause of cancer seems to be the radiation caused by satellite jamming. Iran has forbidden satellites to block foreign TV and radio programs. Naturally no one follows these rules because they want to stay connected to the world. As the suspicions about the adverse effects of the satellite jamming signals has increased, President Rouhani has requested that Iran’s Minister of Health and Medical Education reviews the the health effects satellite
jamming signals has on the Iranian people’s health. Nokia, Ericsson and Huawai are the companies suspected for providing the equipments needed to jam the satellites.
I wonder what the future is going to bring us? Will it ever get better here or will the Iran I love keep changing till it's no longer recognizable?
A few days ago my grandmother went to her sisters house to bring her mother, Aziz, to our house and she will be staying with us for a while. Since she's been here, our house has been filled with laughter. I haven't laughed this hard since I don't know when. It's interesting to watch her change at almost 90. I say almost 90 because we don't really know how old she is. Just that she was around 17 when she had my 70 year old grandmother. If you ask her, she'll say she's 100.
Aziz at the age of 25
I remember her when she was younger. She was much more serious and didn't talk much -- she didn't have the time. She spent most of her time in the kitchen cooking. Now she's sitting in the living room watching TV the whole day. She has a huge crush on Obama. She says he makes her heart beat faster when he comes down the stairs smiling and he greets everyone. He speaks beautifully, she says, even though she doesn't understand English and has no idea what he's talking about.
She likes it when I put henna on her hair and paint her nails even though she says she doesn't care for these "extra miles." She knows the herbal remedy for any situation. Every time I help her with something she thanks me by saying "may God find you a good husband." If the task is difficult, she says "may God give you the husband you want." She gives my grandmother bedroom advice if she has an argument with my grandfather. A warm bed solves it all.
My grandmother, Aziz and myself.
She sits next to my grandfather and they talk. I sit across from them and listen. Both of have hearing problems and so the subject is consistently changing without reason. One mishears the other and responds based on what they've heard and the other does the same. When they get stuck on a word... explosions of laughter. I just love her.
I watch her and her wrinkles and I wonder what it must feel like to be that age. How does it feel when you've done it all? Or when you start thinking of yourself in a past tense form, the way you were... I wonder if I will even live to see 90. Life is so strange -- both in the beginning and in the end. You just never know what to expect.
Bad customer service has grown into one of the things in life I dislike the most. I guess I'm getting really Americanized--but whatever, I like it. Six weeks ago I stepped on a SAS plane and flew to Sweden and if I had to pick from the many travels I have taken, this was by far the worst flight I've ever been on. For some reason, I always thought SAS was one of the best. That's what I had heard but it was godawful. Let me just summarize it all by saying that by the time we arrived, hours late, my legs were numb, my back was cracked and I getting claustrophobic in my little space. My right ear was ringing because their left headphone didn't work, but since they didn't offer WiFi as they had promised, I was stuck with a few films which were at least 10 years old. Needless to say I was bored to death. But it gets better--due to some "terrible turbulence" no one seemed to notice, they didn't offer breakfast, not even water or coffee, and I zombie-styled my way into the airport just to find my luggage torn apart. The disaster of it all was beyond comprehension, especially with a jet lag. Naturally I wrote them to complain and they objected, ignored and delayed as much as they could, 49 days to be exact, but today they let me know they will compensate me with some credit which I chose to use for my very much desired flight extension. And so my new return date to the United States is April, 20th, 2014. Till then, I will be in Iran. Somehow, everything always works out.
Thank you for the compensation. I truly appreciate it.
P.S. I will never fly with you again.
P.P.S. Correction. I will never fly with you again after April. God help me.
Last week I went on a road trip with my family. We stayed at my cousins house in northern Iran by the Caspian Sea. Needless to say, we all had an amazing time. We danced all night, every night and slept in everyday. We ate as much white fish and barbequed chicken as we could and played Hokm (Whist) and smoked hookah and before we knew it the week was over and we were on the road back home. You can't imagine our joy when the heavy traffic convinced us that it was best to stay one more night and leave in the morning instead. Of course we didn't leave until late afternoon the next day. Long story short, it was amazing and much needed. Here's a little peek.
Today, for probably the 100th time in my life, I came home crying for
the sake of my chopped off hair. Is there anyone out there that can help
me understand why hairdressers never listen to what you ask of them?
I've been growing out my hair for a long time now and just today I was
telling my mom how happy I was about it reaching my waist. But it was
time for a trim and so I'm sitting on that hellish chair, begging the so
called stylist to not go over an inch and still she chopped off 6
inches!! And there's nothing I can do about it. All I can say is, Karma,
if you're out there, bite her!