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Diary

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Spain travel diary

July 23, 2003
The Iranian

There are some things in life that you can't live without. Water and food... love and friendships are nothing compared to the addiction my friend Safa and I developed for Salsa (not the dip but the dance). So you can imagine how difficult it was to decide where to go on holidays on our limited budget.

We thought about Italy and Turkey and Greece... but really, what were the chances of us dancing even one night in any of those places? After budgeting and prioritizing our goals for a vacation, Spain was the only logical choice (not that either of us complained).

Since we are both Iranian and brought up as perfect little ladies, we were taught only to travel in first-class form-- with pretty dresses, heeled shoes and hair products galore. Roll-able suitcases and carry-on make-up purses (God forbid, we should ever be seen without make-up).

Now, if anyone knows Safa and I, you'd know that we don't really fall into the typical-Iranian-girl category. We're both rather... (well you'd just have to meet us to understand). Don't get me wrong, we can eshveh like any Soghra and Sakineh, we just choose not to. And this trip was going to be just that!

We were going to do what girls with our upbringing would never do... BACKPACK! On top of that, we were also going to stay in hostels instead of hotels; you know, meet new and fun young people, and since we weren't planning on sleeping, it was just going to be a place to store our bags and shower.

So with Salsa music blaring, we packed. We bought large backpacks, and planned accordingly on what was important and what we were going to have to leave behind since we had limited space (although this was really not as hard as it sounds since Safa could actually almost fit in her backpack).

The excitement was building and before we knew it, we were off!

Day 1
At an ungodly hour of 5am our ride picked us up for the airport. Since neither of us could sleep, we went through our final plan of what we were actually going to do there.

Once we had arrived in Barcelona, we were going to catch the train to Madrid and spend a few days there, before coming back to Barcelona to meet up with other traveling friends. So we chatted and laughed and laughed all the way to Turkey where we had a stop over.

At Attaturk Airport however, things were very different. We were both extremely tired and hungry (and of course stinking from wrist to elbow of the customary cocktail of perfumes courtesy of duty free shopping). We sat calmly and quietly next to each other in the waiting area with our Discman's on and without batting an eyelash, watched the Turkish soccer team strip and re-dress in front of us as they got ready for their flight.

After a few hours, we boarded the bus that would take us to the plane and still there was silence. (Silences between Safa and I are VERY comfortable.) We stood, only giggling once we saw an Iranian couple board the bus. The woman was covered head to toe and the man sported a very hezbollahi beard. It was rather amusing since we hadn't seen "fresh" Iranians for a VERY long time... in fact I don't think Safa had ever seen them THAT fresh, direct from Iran... that's a priceless sight these days.

I turned down my Discman to hear what they were saying, but to my disappointment, they weren't talking...

(to be continued)

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