I woke up this morning with a headache from the rock hard pillow. Did my mail thing and wrote in the journal for a bit.
The Canadian Embassy
I made it into the Canadian embassy this time. Went through the metal detector, which was manned by a friendly Canadian man, and up to the counter to register. Sitting on the counter was a tray full of poppies for Remembrance Day. I stuck a 1000 toman note ($1) into the donations box and pinned the poppy to my bag.
The embassy secretary put me into contact with Salomeh Gharagozlow, an Iranian woman who spoke English fluently. We talked for a few minutes and she brought me a bunch of pamphlets and printouts about Iran and doing business in Iran. She was very helpful and I took all the materials and headed back to the hotel.
The Ferdowsi Grand Hotel
Back at the hotel I asked Mr. M what I could do for lunch. I was drained and needed food. Mr. M recommended the Ferdowsi Grand Hotel just off of Ferdowsi St. near the Imam Khomeini Square. I went over, crossing the dangerous streets, made it into the hotel and into the dining room. Had the most amazing meal, chicken kebab with salad and jello. Fancy that. I sat and read the materials I received from the embassy. It was nothing special; general economic/market analysis that was out of date.
The Meeting and the Mall
August called again and gave the front desk a bunch of directions. Without knowing where the hell I was going I got into the pit-faced taxi driver’s car. He dropped me off at a busy street corner and pointed to a building. I wasn’t quite sure but got out anyways. Of course, August was nowhere to be seen... I waited around of a bit keeping my eyes open, but to no avail. I finally tried calling him, but the telephone would only connect for an instant before cutting out. The phone said I had a bad card. I walked 2 blocks away and found another phone. Finally, after arriving more than 30 mins earlier I got a hold of him and we met in front of the LG sign.
I-kun, my Japanese contact, came only a few minutes later. We met in front of the cinema, where a basiji group had set up a stand full of religious paraphernalia for Ramazan. We introduced ourselves and waited for our Armenian guest. She called and said she was running late so we took a taxi up Pahlavi Street to Jaam e jam, a mall with a food court right across the street from the Jaam e jam TV station.
The food court was a strange sight. There was food from all over the world that kind of all looked the same in these weirdly uniform stalls. You ordered your food, paid for it at a central till, then returned to the store to give them the receipt. 5, 10, or 20 minutes later in my case and you get your food.
We sat around watching all the hot, young girls. It was amazing! They were really hot and kept looking over at the table at me and I-kun, wondering what we were up to and where we were from (and maybe if we could help them get a green card).
I-kun told me about life as a Japanese exchange student. One interesting thing he had to relate was the experience of the Japanese female exchange students. He said that they had been groped in the subway, that Muslims would never do anything to each other, but if you are not a “person of the book” (ie, Muslim, Christian or Jew) then you were considered open season for all kinds of crime.
We helped August with a speech he was submitting for a Japanese language contest and looked at my pictures on my laptop. After hours of sitting in silence watching chicks we left, and I headed back to the hotel.