That Time I Spontaneously Went to Iran


If there’s one phrase to explain my journey to Iran, it will be ‘unprepared’.

I often plan my journeys intimately, analysis the place to go and methods to navigate all the pieces. I’ve been desirous to go to Iran for fairly some time, however I by no means put a lot motion and analysis into my ideas. So after I lastly determined to ebook my flights to Tehran I made a decision to ‘wing it’, getting a fast glimpse of some pictures and articles I may discover on-line.

Figuring out that I can get a visa on arrival, I booked my first night time in a hostel, downloaded a primary VPN and acquired some money out – a minimum of I did one thing proper.

That Time I Spontaneously Went to Iran…traveling to Iran

My analysis in regards to the climate in Iran concluded a few temporary conversations with mates who visited a yr earlier than. Apparently, they had been dying of warmth. As I got here from a sunny Mexico and after Iran was going to Morocco, the imaginative and prescient of the warmth didn’t hassle me. I purchased two skinny tunics, a pair of polyester gown, leggings and sandals.

Think about my response after I left the airport in Tehran in my fancy sandals, solely to find that it’s been snowing a day earlier than. My room in a hostel didn’t have any heating both, so I used to be shaking all night time.

The one factor that was coming to my thoughts was a bunch of penguins and their hugging approach to remain heat, so I attempted to message my boyfriend (now-husband) to inform him that I want he was there, realizing that my VPN solely works for about 5 seconds after which stops – second fail on the primary day of my journey.

Assembly Creepy Dolls

The subsequent morning, I teamed up with M. – a Dutch woman from a hostel and launched into an journey to the grand bazaar of Tehran. In my sandals. Fortunately, it stopped snowing, however the chilly rain didn’t cease my toes from going numb.

Iranian retailers are literally fairly scary. Should you had been ever scared by the ‘Annabelle’ doll, you may wish to take a deep breath earlier than going to Iran. Every retailer or stall at markets introduced their guests with a set of the creepiest dolls and mannequins one can discover.

They’d certainly scare many American youngsters, significantly after darkish, with their messy hair and bizarre crimson faces, however to Iranians, it was one thing completely regular.

The minute I began taking pictures of them, store proprietor had been getting serious about understanding why.
‘Are you a clothier?’ one requested.
In my thoughts, I requested myself a query that even when I used to be, the very last thing I’d do can be taking inspirations from creepy avenue dolls. ‘No, I similar to your dolls.’

creepy dolls in Iran

Failing in Vogue Division

Whereas we managed to get me some new sneakers, socks, and a sweater, I made a decision to choose up just a few new scarves to a minimum of fake to look trendy.

Iranians promote a ridiculous quantity of pashmina headscarves, and so they all look very enticing. On my first day within the nation, I acquired a inexperienced one, a pink one, and one blue with a sample. This was most likely not the perfect concept I’ve had.

My buddy and I had been making an attempt to aim to mix in with locals, nevertheless it turned out not many ladies put on vibrant and colourful scarves. We stood out rather a lot, particularly on the mosque.

Earlier than going to Iran I by no means even tried a headband. I discovered one thing from a YouTube tutorial, however my scarf saved falling on my face all the time. By the top of the day, it was making a large knot on the highest of my head. Except I wanted to go for a Halloween occasion as Samara from The Ring, I used to be failing miserably within the style division.

All of it was nothing, nevertheless, till we reached a mosque in Tehran. Each girl must put on massive lengthy hijabs which are accessible to borrow on the entrance. Native ladies have shortly realized that neither I nor my buddy knew methods to deal with it. All of them smiled and dressed us like little harmless youngsters who can’t gown themselves correctly simply but.iran blog

The place Are You From?

Having an enormous bag full of cameras didn’t assist the entire thing nearly falling off just a few occasions. Fortunately, the second it began falling, a neighborhood girl managed to shortly seize the fabric and put it again the place it belonged on my physique.
‘The place are you from?’ one girl requested me after she requested to take a photograph collectively. However earlier than I managed to open my mouth, able to say that I reside in California within the US, I heard Michou screaming my identify.
‘Look behind you’ she stated.

Once I turned my head, there it was. A large freaking poster saying ‘Performed with the USA and Israel’ proper in entrance of us.
‘We could persist with Holland?’ M. steered. However earlier than I agreed I made a decision to ask some questions and turned to the girl whom I took a photograph with.

‘What do you concentrate on this?’ I pointed on the poster. ‘Do you actually dislike America?’
The girl made a grim expression. ‘No we don’t. We love American films and I’d like to fulfill Individuals. It’s simply what the federal government says, however we don’t pay attention.’iran usa

Birthday Social gathering

I quickly discovered that I didn’t have any proper garments for any event in Iran. When locals invited us for a birthday celebration, we requested what ought to we put on. With out giving us even a brief glimpse at my blue sweater from the market, my buddy’s shirt protruding of it and fully mismatched leather-based jacket on high of all the pieces, the cousin replied that what we’re sporting is okay. Which was completely not true.

We confirmed up on the home, and after eradicating sneakers and scarves we realized that each ladies and men had been altering their outfits even earlier than saying howdy. Girls all regarded like well-made girls from a hi-end nightclub in London, in branded attire and ideal make-up. Males had been sporting fits with completely ironed shirts and ties.

My buddy wore no make-up, and each of our hair regarded like a multitude. We had been completely misplaced. After asking us about our lives and Instagram accounts (Instagram is tremendous fashionable in Iran because it’s one social channel that’s not blocked), everybody dragged us to bounce. I’m really a dancer, however Iranian-Kurdish dances are no-joke and everybody took the steps very significantly making an attempt to indicate us how does the dance go. And we miserably failed.

Round 7 pm the friends cleaned up the cake, vacuum all carpets, washed dishes, became their saggy out of doors garments and by the point it acquired darkish everybody was out of the door. I assume in the event you’re not getting wasted you may have enjoyable and make it house for in Iran

Outdated Lonely Planet Information

Since we couldn’t google any info and the shortage of wifi stopped us from utilizing Google Maps instructions, we had been destined to seek out all the pieces in a Lonely Planet Information to Iran. The guidebook proved to be helpful on most events regardless of being outdated. Aside from a small truth that each time we tried to examine the schedule of our bus rides, the one lacking path was ours.

In consequence, very often we ended up arriving at our vacation spot at a improper time. One time we acquired to Sanandaj at three within the morning, solely to appreciate that completely all the pieces, together with our lodge is closed at night time.

Fortunately, after banging on the door for some time a pleasant man wakened and allow us to in. Regardless of a reservation {that a} earlier lodge made for us, he had no concept who we had been. lonely planet iran

Yay Vacationers!

Two ladies touring alone continues to be a wierd prevalence, go away alone in a rustic like Iran. In non-touristy locations, locals had been both squeaking from pleasure, shouting ‘Yay vacationers!’ as loud as they may, or asking us if we may communicate English to their youngsters. As foreigners on high of being females, we acquired, much more, consideration in non-touristy locations.

A buddy of the cousin of a co-worker of my Dutch companion organized us a visit to a small village. It’s completely regular in Iran that random folks organize your leisure. The 2 cousins didn’t see one another for over a decade, but the one residing in Iran determined to ask his buddy to assist us get to the place we needed to go.

The identical method because it’s fully regular for foreigners to just accept the provide and hop into stranger’s automobile who acquired your cellphone quantity from another person who is aware of you. I’m fairly certain that if one thing like this occurred in America, everybody and their mom can be calling the police and reporting a kidnapping.

Navroz in Kurdistan

Anyway, our journey to the village of Armitsar for an enormous celebration of Navroz – Iranian new yr, celebrated very colorfully (which we came upon about later) in Kurdistan. Each wearing our fairly unflattering and by the point soiled garments, we watched native ladies getting became fancy colourful attire. A few of them advised us that they made their outfits themselves. And but, there was I who can’t even sew a button.

Regardless of our unattractive look, we managed to make some mates who took care of us. If I met somebody from one other nation on a bus going to a spot the place no foreigners have been in a very long time, I most likely would have purchased them a drink. However since in Iran nobody drinks, a minimum of not in public locations, we acquired a large piece of kalana as an alternative.

Kalana might be one of many heaviest issues I ate and the worst enemy of any weight loss program. It’s a really skinny bread made in entrance you on a scorching plate, that’s later soaked, and by that, I imply REALLY dipping moist, in butter and sprinkled with inexperienced onions. Whereas it’s not the healthiest of all dishes, it appears to be like inexperienced sufficient thanks to those inexperienced onions and it’s scrumptious. That’s all we would have liked.


However kalana wasn’t all we acquired from the Kurdish women. From the second we launched ourselves to them, they acted like protectors of the crown jewels, with the jewels being us. We had been escorted to the lavatory, handed meals and drinks and requested if we would have liked something. It was so freaking good, that I couldn’t recover from it for some time.

We spent hours speaking about our lives in London, California and the Netherlands, and their lives in Iran. Out of all questions, one of many strangest ones we acquired to our reply that we’re from Europe and lived within the Netherlands was ‘why are you not fats?’.
‘Dutch folks aren’t fats’ I replied shortly. There are lots of issues I can say about residing within the Netherlands, however I truthfully have by no means seen a fats Dutch individual. Tall perhaps, however not fats. Seems in Iran folks declare to see fats Dutch folks on TV.

‘Do you’ve a boyfriend?’ one of many women requested me out of the blue.
‘Yeah, I do. Do you?’ I requested, fully forgetting how insensitive I may have been as Iranians technically aren’t allowed thus far freely. However to my shock, nearly each woman quietly replied ‘Sure’ with a smile.
‘We date, simply in secret.’ The ladies stated to us. ‘We do the identical belongings you do on dates’. I wasn’t totally certain what do ‘we do’ on dates, however I didn’t dare to ask whether or not they have intercourse or not.

Showing on Kurdish TV

Irrespective of what number of Kurdish women we befriended we nonetheless stood out. The nationwide TV arrived on location and commenced to interview folks, and so they noticed us – two misplaced foreigners aimlessly strolling round. Via our new translating mates we came upon that the TV determined to interview us. It didn’t matter what do we are saying, so long as we present our faces.

5 minutes later we had been fully surrounded by crowds taking pictures of us and asking us to take a selfie. Whereas I discovered it fairly humorous, contemplating the actual fact my Dutch buddy hated being on digital camera, it was an entertaining expertise a minimum of.Kurdish TV

Pink Lake

After visiting a pink lake in Mexico I needed to see one other one after discovering out that there’s one in Iran. Getting there concerned a large detour to the northern city of Tabriz and renting a driver to get to this lake.

Think about my shock after I came upon upon arrival that the lake isn’t really pink or crimson, however really fairly dry and nasty. It turned out that the colour was solely current at Lake Urmia briefly, however the correct Iranian pink lake is definitely in close to Shiraz, within the southern a part of the nation.Lake Urmia

Whereas my journey was extremely spontaneous and eventful I loved it rather a lot and might’t wait to return to Iran! 🙂


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