|It's been a while since we have had a chance to update our entry. We just finished our 2-week journey in Iran and are really sad to be leaving this amazing and unique country.
Sonia spent the first 16 years of her life in Iran before migrating to the US.
Our journey through Iran started when we landed in Shiraz from the former Iranian island now an independent kingdom of Bahrain. We promptly passed through customs without any problems with Dustin's American status and were greeted by Sonia's father. Sonia's father has been working on a large commercial project in Shiraz for the last 2 years. While in Shiraz we visited Sonia's former home and school as well as several bazaars, mosques and forts. We also made a trip to Persepolis about an hour away from downtown Shiraz. The ruins of Persepolis are around 2500 years old and thought to be destroyed by fires during the invasion of Alexander the Great in 330 BC.
The mood in Shiraz was very lively with young men and women freely enjoying meals in the chelokababis throughout town. The mall in the evening transformed to be the proverbial 'meatmarket' with many chic boys and girls trying to arrange dates with their cell phones and cruising zones. We were impressed to see the large amount of cars in a relatively small city and thought it may relate to the subsidized price of gas currently around 25-30 cents per gallon, similar to the price in Bahrain.
From Shiraz we took a one-hour flight to Abadan the city bordering Iraq at the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Sonia was born in this city, but had to leave when Saddam led Iraqi troops invaded to begin the 10-year war of Iran and Iraq. Sonia's father led our taxi driver on a tour of the city taking us to Sonia's birthplace hospital, home and the Iraqi border. We saw a couple of Iraqi fisherman paddling down the river. In some parts of the city and surrounding communities the war damage was so bad that most of the buildings were irreparable and evacuated.
We continued our tour of Khuzestan through to Sonia's father's birthplace of Shushtar. Shushtar and nearby Shush are home to one of the oldest civilizations known as the Elamites from biblical fame, historical contemporaries of Mesopotamia. We enjoyed dinner with some old family members still living in Shushtar and had a tour of the 1000-year-old hydro powered mill and waterfalls and a 3500 year old UNESCO world heritage temple. We crept the city in search of her father's childhood home and were shocked to see many architecture students from the local university taking photos and making measurements on the site.
The next day we left for Tehran to visit Sonia's family and take in the amazing Tehrani city life...The weather was beautiful and the view of the nearby Damavand Mountain was breathtaking. We spend an afternoon exploring the Shah's palace (former king of Iran), Emam Khomeini's museum and the "Big Bazaar". Dining is part of the great experience in Tehran with a variety of traditional and modern dishes to be savored. The early evenings were spent at Coffee Shops or hooka bars were young well-dressed girls and boys meet.
Iranian people are known for their great hospitality, and this made Dustin feel very welcome as a foreigner. We were invited to people's homes and got special treatment by many people who were excited and happy to hear that Dustin was from America.
We are heading to London to spend the next couple of days with our dear friends before heading back home.