I spent the day working on a translation and watching the last few episodes of Coupling while waiting for Mo to call. Mo was the guy I met at the demo. He called in the morning and invited me to have dinner with his family for a chance to get to meet some “real” Iranians.
He lives up in a nicer part of Tehran and didn’t want me to get lost so he came all the way down to my hotel to pick me up. We left as soon as he showed up, heading down the street to the metro. As we walked I noticed that he was all eyes, watching everything around us. He asked me why in the hell I chose to stay in this area and I explained to him that some Swedish guy on the Thorntree recommended it as safe, and I wanted to be close to the bar, and how hotels like that tend to attract lots of local traders. I forgot to mention to him my hatred off backpackers.
Now here comes the ironic part. As we waled it started to rain ever so lightly. Mo was happy, I was shocked. I mean, I know it rains in Tehran, hell it even snows, but I was in total disbelief. We joked about us both being from Vancouver, and how if two people from Vancouver get together the rain will come.
Just as we were crossing the street a guy approached us speaking Farsi in a low voice. I followed Mo’s lead and ignored him and after we walked past Mo explained, “That guy just tried to offer us porn!” We weaved through the traffic and got to Imam Khomeini Square. Tehran is full of roundabouts (aka traffic circles) much like Paris. Whenever two major streets cross there is a roundabout that usually has a statue of a famous person or some monolith and named “Square”. Emam Khomeini Square, Ferdowsi Square, Vanak Square, Argentina Square, Palestine Square, etc etc. The strange thing about the Emam Khomeini square is that the southern quadrant of roadway has been blocked off, so you cannot drive completely around the square, only 75% of it. The little stretch of road that is blocked off is for pedestrians only. Mo asked me if I knew why and I shook my head. What was regular street passes in front of a huge telecom building with a radio array on top. Turns out a few years back the Mujahedin-el-Khalq (MEK) drove a car full of explosives up to the building and exploded it. I guess the government thought to increase the security of the telecom building by blocking off the road to prevent it from happening again.
We passed through the square and into the metro. While waiting for the train we talked about ourselves, background family etc. I found out that Mo had lived in Canada from age 6 to 18. He is currently 20 and doing an English degree at a university in Tehran. His father had taken the family to Canada so that he may study and obtain two PhDs in advanced biological sciences.
We took the train to the end of the line to find that it was raining pretty hard outside. Jumping in the car we then drove for another 20 minutes. While driving Mo put on a CD. Man... all I could do was laugh. He we were driving in the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran with Bill Hicks blasting out the car windows.
The Islamic Extremist and his smart-assed little brother
Mo had promised to introduce me to some of the “enlightened youth”. We drove over to another nice part of town and parked in front of a nice apartment building. Mo rang the bell and