Final Iran observations

Finally some concluding observations on Iran, based on a mere 2 weeks in the country.  Without hesitation we recommend visiting.
Plastic Surgery is HUGE. We read about it but didn’t believe the extent before we got there.  Noses everywhere had the post-procedural bandages.  While it was mainly women, there were a number of young men sporting bandages.  It even went as far as the shop mannequins
Food was hearty and we ate a lot of Yoghurt and Barberries.  There were very good biscuits and small eats. Dates were , moist and caramelly. 

Contrary to Andrew’s hopes, non-alcoholic fruit beer is not a great substitute for the real thing.  Contrary to Paula’s expectations Andrew survived without alcohol for 2 weeks without any major issues. 

Lamb was everywhere
The city streets were always very clean.  The public gardens were swept each day and provided good shade for walkers. Most towns had an abundance of seats along the streets and in the parks and that they were well used.

Driving was mad.  As one commentator said, it may look chaotic, but the drivers are very skillful to manoeuvere through the mayhem.  City buses were segregated – men at the front, women at the back- but long distance buses were not.  Motorbikes with windshields were standard issue.
Although international sanctions have been lifted the state of the economy is not great.  From the Economist 6 Dec 2016

Boosted by sanctions relief, Iran’s economy is set to grow by about 4.5% this year, up from 0.4% in 2015. Yet few ordinary Iranians have felt the benefits. Unemployment is at 12.2% overall and at 25.2% and 19.7% respectively for young people and women. An oil boom has done little to create jobs. The Revolutionary Guards’ grip on the economy does not help. President Hassan Rohani has started on reforms but has more to do

Hand labour remains common – the cross-braced wheel below was used to draw up the soil on a construction site.  There is a religious decree currently be promoted where women are not supposed to ride bicycles, but despite this they do.  We saw these two ladies in the park, one learning to ride.  We offered them some encouragement as we walked past.

Although everyone ‘wanted’ to know where you were from they really didnt know where NZ was – except in the tourist restaurant in Kashan where we were presented with a flag on our table while we ate


I wore the same over jacket every day.  Every. Single. Day!  It was also the best item of clothing for this trip.  While it is possible for foreigners to have more leeway on the dress-code the head-scarf is compulsory and other clothing remains conservative.  The light weight fabric of the jacket meant I could wear a t-shirt underneath and not be too hot and when the snow came I could also wear my fleece under it.  I recommend it!

We stayed at the following hotels/inns
Tehran: Forsat Eskan – central tehran –
Shiraz:  Aryo Barzan Hotel
Esfahan: Esfahan Tourist Hotel
Kashan: Manouchehri Traditional House

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