Leaving again
After five months in Iran, we were (ready and) getting ready to move on again! During our time here, we had travelled to many of the fantastic tourist sites and we had seen many things that most tourists won't get to see, mostly due to Rita's family-ties, her knowledge of Farsi (Persian) and due to the really long time we have been here.
There are many things about Iran that we honestly liked, many things that we cannot understand and many things that we definitely disliked. Writing about all of them is virtually impossible: their number is too vast, and many of the topics are so controversial that writing about them without understanding them (we don't, we think) is a difficult task.
Maybe, some examples can serve as illustration. We are about to leave a country....

...where anyone off the street will invite you to tea, dinner or to stay the night. But you can never be sure whether this is really meant seriously or just a courtesy-line ('tarof'). And to make it even more complicated, people who are doing this as a courtesy line often ensure that in their case it is not only courtesy ('tarof nemikonam'). Which is just the same a courtesy, but on a even stronger level. Very confusing!

...where anyone selling you something will answer your question after the price with a smile and a 'ghabel nadare' ('it does not have a value'). However, the intention is not to give the item away for free but is simply politness. You will have to beg for the price to be revelead!

...where most if not all macro economic numbers are measuered in US Dollars, where many people wear 'U.S. Army' labelled jackets (its a fashion!), where many youngsters want to move abroad, preferrably to the United States. However, as soon as there is a public celebration of any kind half the country walks around with posters saying 'down with the US' or 'dead on America'.

...where people are utterly worried about the reputation of their country in the world, but wherever (on streets, on house-walls at any public happening) one goes there are expressions of hatred towards Israel and the US. Two examples:
1. on a boulevard in Kermanshah, someone carefully (and skillfully!) painted the Israel and the US Flag onto the pavement and labelled it with 'Dead on Israel, Dead on USA'.
2. During the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the parades where full of people insulting the US and Israel-Flags or cursing these countries with respective signs. Of the celebration as such was not much if anything to see... So, what shall one answer to the much expecting question asked by everyone: 'Mister, what do you think about Iran?'

...where the queue to the showers in a public swimming pool can all of a sudden grow huge because the first two men upfront refuse steadily to be so rude and enter before the other one. However, would the same two men meet again on the road, both in their own car, there would be no mercy whatsoever!

...where some people consider Thomas Anders from Modern Talking as the greatest pop singer of all times!

...where signs can state things like: 'Freedom and Adornment are both the secrets of Hejab' (Hejab is the concept of the proper covering of women according to the islamic law).

...where some people say that they have the best schools in the whole world, meanwhile a fourteen-year old in high-school is examined in topics like 'how to clean your behind in a proper islamic way when there is neither water nor toilet paper available' (this is not a joke).

...with the forth largest oil output worldwide, but a major part of the petrol going to the car-engines is imported.

...where the police usually directs you the city park as the safest place to put up a tent

...where someone easily can explain you - while disposing the empty packet of cigarettes or a PET-bottle through the car window - that littering is one of the major problems of the country

...where some people strongly believe that the tremendous drug problem among the youngs is a result of the work of US Secret Services to make their offspring mind-dull. However, the closer one comes to the Afghan border, the more pressing the drug problem becomes.

... where many people are really happy to test their english skills whenever they can. Even it is only as much as 'Hello Mister, I love you!'