Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 9: Tehran

I’m in Tehran! Today is Sizdah Be Dar or 13th day of the Iranian New Year! The weather is so refreshingly spring-like and everyone is outside enjoying picnics and the lovely weather which is tradition for this holiday festival. Some families and friends are soaking up the sun, while others are playing sports like badminton, soccer, and volleyball. The park outside my hotel is brimming with rollerbladers, lovebirds, boys with funky hairdos, and girls with large bangs poofed under their pretty hejabs. Small ice cream carts are wheeling by offering their cheap delicacies to the crowd and seem to be making a good profit.

There is live music in a nearby venue that also seems to be attracting many people. From my hotel window it sounds like rap blasting over a really bad sound system. There are posters everywhere with the name “Mojan YZ” on it so I am assuming that’s who’s performing. I just looked him up and this is the song they are playing right now!

So I decided to venture outside on a walk down Valiasr Street (the longest street in the Middle East). During the festival, Sizdah Be Dar, it is also tradition to throw wheat sprouts into water for good luck. This tradition is similar to how we throw pennies into a fountain. I have decided that both traditions are not necessarily good for keeping the environment clean. In the water canals, I see that they are being clogged with wheat sprouts along with other trash. Street cleaners are sweeping the trash downstream, but I can see it getting stuck somewhere further down and causing some sort of flood on the street. Here’s the kicker though. Not only are they throwing wheat sprouts, they are throwing them in their containers of plastic or ceramic. o.O

Check out this picture:

Well, part of my plan today is to check out the Grand Bazaar. I took a cab to the south side of Tehran to see it and buy some souvenirs.
*Excellent music seems to be following me. Check out these super cute entertainers.

So the Grand Bazaar is a huge marketplace, and the world's largest bazaar. Trade is the main focus of this bazaar. Originally, this Grand Bazaar was divided into strips specifically designed for selling different goods. So you would have a corridor selling copper, another selling carpets, paper, spices, and many other types of goods. Today, there are those goods plus more modern goods like watches and jewelry.

But no worries! The corridor vendors are still in plenty. Times haven't changed too much. Most people I see are still haggling like in the olden days. The prices they are getting are decent too.

Something else a bit random that I noticed today is that everybody is napping! I think it has a lot to do with the holiday and delicious spring weather but look at this sign I found. It's in Persian, the official language of Iran, but I asked another tourist if he knew what it mean. Apparently it means: "No Reading Please, Only Napping".

I love napping. So, I joined in.

Today was a good day.