Favourite places,  Iran,  Round the world

Kilometer 13 874: on pollution, bazaars and insulting Iranians in practice

– Mister, what is your idea about Iran? – I heard for the seventeenth time while I was strolling around the bazaar. My sex rarely stops people here from calling me “mister”.

– It’s beautiful and people are very nice. – I responded for the seventeenth time.

– Mister, and what was your idea about Iran before coming here?

You shouldn’t take too long to think about the answer to this one. The perfect one would be: “I knew that Iran is a safe country and has nothing to do with the Arab Islamic extremists”. The worst dirt you could ever throw on a Persian is to call them an Arab. That’s even worse than not taking your shoes off before entering their house, or blowing your nose in public.

But where was I just strolling? Oh, right, in the bazaar. Bazaars are cool, because they’re the only tourist attraction that allows you to observe people, touch weird fruit and do shopping at the same time. Plus, it’s for free (except the shopping, duh…)! Each mosque, museum and garden has a Persian price (between 0 and 1$) and a tourist price (between 4 and 25$). Since a bionda whose Farsi is limited to salaam aleikum (which is actually much more Arabic than Persian) and several food names is rather unlikely to get a local price ticket, bazaars are really cool. Especially those in Tabriz and Esfahan, still the Tehran one deserves a special mention, as it’s the only place in the city where you can’t see the pollution.

This is neither fog, nor a dirty camera lens
This is neither fog, nor a dirty camera lens

A bazaar lives a life of its own. Khaki fruit, which could be easily confused with tomatoes, peep from round the corner, one man is selling sheep legs from a wheelbarrow, another man is sleeping on a pile of carpets which he eventually intends to sell as well, yellow sugar that will soon make its way into the tea cups in exaggerated amounts is crystallizing in enormous tubs, while the third man is sitting with a scale and setting into reality what has got to be the worst business idea in the history of entrepreneurship: weighing people for money.


I, myself, would rather pay not to know how much I weigh, especially towards the end of my visit to Iran, but apparently I’m not his target customer.

Khaki fruit, not eligible for ketchup
Khaki fruit, not eligible for ketchup

















The film uses a fragment of “Candy Shop” by 50 cent.

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