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Visiting Iran: Part 2
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Iran Tripper
August 5,2004


I am still strolling the avenues of vacation life. I have not explored the job market yet but when I was visiting with a friend he mentioned that there are plenty of jobs available but not enough "qualified" workers. He gave me an example: In Azmayesh, where he works, they hire interns on regular basis and for the most part the interns are not willing to work hard. He said educated interns are reluctant to start at the bottom and think very highly of themselves. On rare occasions some interns exhibit good working habits and excel.

My uncle in Sherkateh Naft confirmed his views. He said Chinese companies who are in charge of advancing Iran's petrol industry complain that Iranians are not hard workers. My uncle who had lived in Germany for 20 years after WWII and has German work habits agrees with the Chinese.

The point is there are jobs, but Iran is filled with non-skilled college graduates who think if they lived in America or in Canada they would be appreciated and compensated much better than in Iran.

This evening Khatami was speaking to the nation on TV. He was encouraging people to vote for the seventh Majlis, saying to people that turning your back to elections is no solution to Iran's shortcomings.

He acknowledged that his administration could have done a better job but he said the country is on the right path to democracy and people should be more patient. Khatami also said Iran's economy has grown twice the rate of world's average, growing more than all the countries in the region. Is this true?

An interesting item: Drug stores now sell edible alcohol that is made from Wheat and has no other use except drinking. The new alcohol is bottoled in a flat flask shape. It is similar to liquor bottles sold in your liquor stores. In order to drink you must mix 1 part alcohol with 2 or 3 part water.

I mixed the alcohol with orange juice and water (screwdriver), as well as other mixed drinks for my relatives, but they told me that I ruined the taste of pure alcohol with orange juice or other fruit juices. They told me to go ahead and drink my "susuli" American drinks and leave our pure "aragh" alone. I obliged. No appreciation for the fine art of bartending here.

There are new satellite systems on the way to Iranian homes. The new systems will have more European channels and the dishes will be much smaller, and the systems will be around $120, cheaper than current systems ($150).

Yesterday I was in Meidan Pahlavi, where Pahlavi meets Elizabeth Blvd. It was raining and all the cabs were full and I needed an empty cab to bring my mom and dad back to Ekbatan. It was raining, weather was cold, streets were filled with cars, sidewalks were filled with passersby. My dad was getting tired where he almost never leaves the house and last night we had to tend a legal matter in that part of town.

I left my dad near a store to shelter him from rain. As I was frantically trying to hunt down an empty cab I noticed my dad was gone. The store owner had noticed my old man shievering and had taken him inside the store, had given him a seat next to the heater. With all the negative things we say about Tehran, that people have become rude and unfriendly, still there is that Iranian hospitality.

My mom went inside the store to stay with my dad until I get a cab. Later on I found out they had called for a cab for us but there were no cars available at that hour so my parents waited for an hour in the store. I finally lured an empty car to give us a ride for $$. It took about 2.5 hours to get back home. Even our experienced driver said he had never seen the traffic that bad.



Today I had a nice visit with an old friend. Bahram is an old childhood friend. He is now about 37 yrs old. We went to an exhibit in Tehran expo and saw Iranian and foreign manufacturers that are involved in manufacturing factories, producing disposable cups, plates, etc. I was impressed with the Iranian manufactures who were competing with their Chinese and German counterparts.

Although I should add that our other friend Amir who owns a factory and was there to purchase a plastic-cup-making machine was looking for German models, claiming that Iranian machines are of poor quality. I'm no expert in this field and I take his word for it but I was impressed by Iranian machine builders who were there advertising their machineries.

For some reason in Tehran (may be in all of Iran) good hamburgers and French Frys are hard to find. I remember in the old days there were good hamburger joints such as “1930's”, Tops Hamburger”, “KingsBurger”, etc. There are delicious sandwiches, shops, along with all kinds of restaurants all over the place but no good hamburger shops in sight; not yet at least. There are chain burger places that resemble Carl's Jr. but I haven't had a chance to try them yet.

There is a new and improved model for Peykan called Samand. The new models are assembled in Iran. They are part French, part German and part Iranian. Samand sells for about 11 million Tomans ($13000.) Samand cars are nicely equipped. When the doors are open a female Persian voice says: “Dar baz ast"! It is kind of interesting to hear a car's computer speak in Persian >>> Page 3
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Book of the day

A Taste of Persia
An Introduction to Persian Cooking
by Najmieh Batmanglij

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