Trip to Iran. Part 4
July 12, 2004
Coming back to Tehran from Ahvaz was a relief. It
was back to a more familiar place. At this time, Tehran was mourning
of thousands of Iranians from the Bam earthquake. The somber look
of the people in the streets was indicative of the magnitude of
the disaster. In every street corner one could see stacks of blankets,
medical equipments all destined to the earthquake stricken city.
tried to enjoy the reminder of my trip as much as I could. The
mornings were spent in the streets mostly with my friends. I soon
learnt the art of crossing the streets although it took a few days
and a couple of close calls but I think I graduated with honors.
The adrenaline rush of crossing Tehran’s busy streets is
more riveting than riding the best roller coasters in the best
amusement parks in North America. Approximately 1,200 cars are
introduced into the streets of Tehran every day. It is estimated
that in five
years streets of Tehran will serve as parking lots as there will
not be any room for actually driving the cars.
I soon decide to visit the Iran-Bastan Museum which
largest archeological museum and a place that I was eager to see.
A couple of taxi rides from my hotel takes me to the museum. After
greeting the seventeen-year-old guard who was blowing
bubble gum, we enter the main hall. The museum is full of old
Persian artifacts most of which were discovered by British and
The most precious artifact is the statute
of “Cyrus” apparently given to him as a gift by the
Egyptians. The hieroglyphics writing is carved on the statute and
a Persian translation provided reads something like “To
Cyrus. The King of the Kings”. The statute is missing
Cyrus’s torso but it is believed to be the only statute of
Cyrus to this day. The museum’s guide was enthusiastic in
explaining some of the history behind the artifacts. “We
will be bring some new artifacts soon” he tells me. The museum
is a definite must see for anyone visiting Tehran.
A few days later I visit the Imam Khomeini Hospital.
There I am about to meet an Iranian scientist who is interested
in a research project. As I approach the entrance of the hospital,
I hear a loud sound that seems to be coming from above. I look
up and see a quite a large helicopter that is probably carrying
the injured from the Bam earthquake. The helicopter lands right
in front of the Hospital, inches from a Laboo foroush.
The skill of the pilot amazes me as in North America heliambulances
land on the roof of hospitals and not in front of the
Amazingly, I do not have to wait too long and soon
meet the scientist. He greets me and calls for tea and TipTop,
which I think is equivalent
to Persian Twinkies. We are interested to look at the risk
of several cancers in Iranian soldiers exposed to chemical weapons
during the Iran-Iraq war. It is estimated that between 50,00-100,000
Iranians were exposed to chemical warfare. Many died instantly.
Those who survived were afflicted with severe respiratory conditions
as the gases literally liquefied their lungs.
My meeting with the
scientist seemed productive at first although soon I realized that
nothing productive will come of this joint project. Iran
is the land of promises with little follow through and this is
the main reason that Iran has fallen behind in many aspects from
I am now close to the mid point of my trip and
already start to feel a bit tired of all the parties and the busy
I am invited to yet another Mehmouni, an experience
that will be a memorable part of my trip.
To be continued... >>> Index