This time next week I will be in Iran. Being the second month of the Persian calendar year, “ordibehesht” we can expect gorgeous spring temperatures of between 70-80 degrees with plenty of blossom on the trees and a general feeling of positivity following the end of winter. I have resurrected the Farsi lessons on my iPod, my case is 3/4 packed and I have chosen the places and sights that I want to visit whilst there.
It will also be interesting to see how the economic sanctions imposed on the country are affecting families and local businesses day-to-day. How much extra do we have to pay for fuel, rice or meat? Are there obvious shortages of certain food stuffs and what do I get for my Rials this time round?
I don’t want to spend all my time with family and friends talking politics and it is something I usually avoid but the opportunity to hear out their views on the current situation and how it affects them directly puts me in a privileged position of seeing things how they really are and not how they are portrayed on the news. It also gives me a dilemma. Undoubtedly the bullish attitude towards the sanctions would be to deny their impact on the Iranian people and to “Keep calm and carry on” regardless. However, this is unrealistic and a bit more transparency and openness will go a long way to us understanding what is really going on behind the façade.
In the meantime I know that I want to see more of Esfahan’s famous pigeon towers, go down to the Gavkhuni swamp where the Zayandeh-Rud (river) at places 800m wide dissipates into salt marshes, and visit the Flower Garden (Baq-e-Gol).
All this before breakfast on day 1!