Monday, August 29, 2011

Alborz Mountains

So far during the time in Iran I've been on road trips east to Mashhad and north to AstanehMashhad is the second biggest and a holy city in Iran. This city is a religious tourist destination. Many people from all over Iran & Middle east come to visit Imam Reza's shrine in Mashhad. My mother is originally from here and I visit my grandparents and family in Mashhad every time I am in Iran. 
There are several routes leading to Mashhad and to the Caspian Sea on the north. The nature on each road is scenic and unique. The roads go through mountains, desert, and forests . I love the mountains in Iran. The Alborz mountains separates the tropical caspian sea area from the lower Tehran plateau. It reaches several hundred miles east to west and its only few tens of miles wide. You definitely see some spectacular views when crossing these mountains. They are similar to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
The tallest mountain in the Alborz Range is Mt. Damavand at 18400ft (5600meters) elevation. A lot of  people hike in the Alborz mountains. Hiking in the mountains is one of my activities now, and I always been wanting to clime up to the peak of Mt. Damavand. I will make that dream come true in the near future. 

In addition to the nature, It's the month of Ramadan right now. During this month Muslims don't drink or eat from sunrise to sunset. Nobody is supposed to consume food or drinks in public and restaurants and coffee shops are not serving food for lunch. I would assume restaurant industry's low season in muslim countries is during the month of Ramadan, which ends in few days and it's celebrated as Eyd e Fetr. 
Astaneh Ashrafiyyeh is a town in the Gilan province by the Caspian Sea. The nature here is tropical and you see palm trees around. My parents have a get away home on the country side of Astaneh. In their little orchard here life is peaceful and pleasant. It's far from the city chaos and it's quiet. I like spend my quality time here next to the outdoor fire place and among fruit trees and rose bushes.     
Yesterday we drove back from Astaneh to Tehran and tomorrow we are going to Tabriz in Azerbaijan. 
Love from Alborz Mountains  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome to Tehran

There is so much going on in Tehran. I have been in a slight culture shock since I got here. When you travel to diverse countries in the world, you experience a sense of confusion. I also know that I will be feeling this way when I go back to Chicago or the Caribbean. For me it takes 2-5 days to adjust.
Tehran is the biggest cosmopolitan city and the capital of Iran. Metro Tehran's population is over 13 million people and there are cars and people everywhere.  Many move from all over Iran to Tehran to find better opportunities. Tehran is the sophisticated city in Iran and the class difference is clear and big. You see people driving Porsches that cost 3-4 times more than in the U.S and there are children on the streets begging for money.

One thing that is amazing in Iran is the tasteful fruits. All fruits have certain sweet taste unique to themselves. Now is the season for melons, grapes, cherries, pears peaches, nectarines, berries, apricots,  plums, prunes, apples and so forth. Furthermore, there are different kind of each fruit, like watermelons, honey melons, musk melons(Kharbozeh), cantaloupes and others. In addition, the Kharbozeh from Mashhad tastes different than the ones from Isfahan. We eat fruits like snacks in Iran. There is definitely something unique about the soil in this part of the planet.

Persian culture is ancient, it has been around for few thousands of years. It also has changed throughout history, there has been lots of influence from external forces that has been affecting and changing it. One thing that Persians are holding tight to is their poetry. We are very proud of our poetry and it is a corner stone of our culture. Poets like Hafez, Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Sadi, Ferdosi, and others have a significant meaning in Iran. You find Rumi's and Hafez's books in almost any Iranian household. Their poems are framed on walls and part of everyday expressions. We actually have a divan of Hafez on Earthling.
I just opened a random page in the Robaiyat of Khayyam and it says:

"With them the seed of wisdom did I sow,
and with my own hand labored it to grow,
and this was all the harvest that I reaped,
I came like water, and like wind I go"

Love from Tehran

Friday, August 5, 2011

Time for another home

Time for Chicago visit has come to an end and another destination across the globe is waiting for my arrival.
There has been lots to do in the last six weeks in Chicago. The biggest task was to find someone to take over my business and luckily I did accomplish that within this short period of time.  Furthermore, my passport, driver's license, & residency card was expired and now they are all renewed. On top of that I did the sailing race from Chicago to Mackinac Island and delivered Joie De Vie back to Chicago. I also got an opportunity to fly in a helicopter for the first time with my friend Johnny Wanda last week. Johnny is a chopper pilot, he flew us from Kenosha to downtown Chicago and back. Flying in a helicopter is like being a bird. I never realized that you can fly really low with a helicopter. We were flying as low as the mansions on the lake front and lower than sears tower over Chicago. It was an amazing experience.

I have many friends & loved ones in Chicago and I have been socializing almost every night. Last night we had a go-away party and I got to see many friends. The last few days I have been very overwhelmed and slept very little. Right now I'm flying with Lufthansa airline to Frankfurt, luckily nobody is sitting next to me so I'm laying down on all three seats. There is a gentleman sitting in the middle isles, he is double my size and looks at me like he would love to trade seats. I should tell him I haven't slept for 40 hrs, maybe that makes him less envious. 

Earth is our home planet and within this big picture I have 3 permanent homes and a mobile home. I have lived equal amount of 12 years in each of the permanent homes and started living aboard Earthling a year ago. I was born in Tehran, Iran, grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden and been in Chicago the last 12 years.
As the child to my parents I have a duty to see and stay with them at least once a year. And now they live in Tehran, a place diverse from Chicago & the Caribbean. I will be spending time in the land of Persia for the next 2 months, longest ever since I was 12 yrs old. I will share my experiences with you and I'm hoping to share stories other than what we hear in the media. A more positive aspect of Iran.
Love from the skies over Germany