In our last blog we told about the kindness of Iranian people. Every day it’s still an overwhelming experience. Persian culture is characterised by “Ta’arof”. The art of Ta’arof has its roots in the Persian tradition of treating others better than your own family and have the desire to be the best host. The people here are so warm, that you almost have to get “used” to the kindness. People from the west are used to some “space”. Here it’s different, if we park the camper somewhere for the night, in no time people will make a camp around our camper. They just want to talk to you, know if you like their country, offer you drinks and food, invite us to their home, etc. Sometimes things also can be a bit confusing, for example if you buy something or use a service, they say they don’t want money. It is not polite to ask for money. Of course, you need to pay, but still. In the supermarket sometimes the employee walks with you everywhere. We thought they were checking us because we were maybe steeling something. But NO, think in a positive way. They just want to help us when we have questions. Ta’arof, how beautiful is that!
We think that the Iranian culture can also be intense from time till time. For many people the Muslim believe is very strict like the Iranian government. That makes it very hard for people who are less religious or not at all. Especially for women, in our opinion they have more strict rules then men. Wearing a hijab is a must, body lines cannot be showed, at the beach women cannot swim in bikini and you never will see women on a bike. If you work for the government, like a school, your private and working life is checked by the government. The power of the government is enormous, with off course a strong Muslim believe. We met so many nice, smart, funny, creative and open-minded people and many just want freedom and make their own choices. For them being a Muslim is a must and not an issue or burden but the restrictions are. Slowly things are changing and the rules are getting more unrestricted, but it’s going slow, for some to slow. A lot of people have a dream to life in the USA, Canada or Europe. For us it was also a surprise that there are many people who “love” Donald Trump just because he is against the regime of Iran. We can really feel and see that people and the economy struggles with the sanctions from the USA and Europe. A lot of people don’t have jobs and the money is little. The value of the Rial is at lowest point… Difficult times for a country with 80 million people…
Two weeks ago, a lot of strikes went on in Iran. The price of petrol went up, from 3 eurocent towards 8 eurocents for 1 liter. For a lot of people here this price increase is massive. The average wage is around 200 euro a month. The government decided to disconnect the internet for 1 week so no news could be shared. Also, ATM machine didn’t work properly. We were in Bushehr (along the coast) when the strikes started and it was relatively calm. In other cities a lot of fires and highway blockades were going on. Around 200 people (amnesty international claims) were killed and many more got injured. When the strikes started, we were with Farshid and Saeideh. Farshid has a sport bar in Burshehr and we could stay and sleep in front of his cafe for one week. He spoiled us with coffees, Ice cream, cookies, food and other lovely things… Morgan didn’t want to leave; watching movies all day is the best 😉 After this beautiful place with amazing people we went to a villa along the coast. A friend of Farshid told us we could stay as long as we wanted. There was almost nobody around except for some fishermen who brought us fish and crabs every morning. Paradise! 3 days ago, we left this Paradise and now we are at Hormuz Island, in the south of Iran. Still in relaxing mode…. In the beginning of January, we will go towards Pakistan, the next adventure.
For now, we can say that Iran is one of the best countries we have ever been to. The diversity is huge and we feel 100% safe. The country, landscapes, history, art, architecture of buildings, gardens and the people make it very special for us. Media is a bad influencer and for us it isn’t respectful to all the beautiful people who are living here.
We hope everybody is doing well and enjoy a great December month.
Love from the 3 of us!