I’m In Iran, Visa in Hand, Ready to Report

It was a long, long night, as I arrived at Tehran’s Khomeini airport at about 3 am and spent a few hours wrestling with various levels of authority to try and finish the visa business that I started last week. In the end, after fumbling with a fingerprint machine, the friendly cop released our passports and inside, voila! was the aforementioned and hard to get visa. And the guy I was with never paid a dime, but mine cost $125 mailed earlier to their embassy.

We drove the empty highway, hurtling along straddling two lanes, and reached this big hotel, where I would bed down for a mere three hours. Now I’m up, it’s time to go to the big tourism event, and I am surrounded by tour operators and men from Europe in suits. I find one journalist, Paul Rogers, who knows old Kentski. At last a familiar face, another journalist.

Before I left I reread Rick Steve’s and Tony Wheeler’s takes on this misunderstood land. They both agreed that no place they’ve been is more welcoming and more full of people who want to say hello, and talk, and learn about America. Steves also prepared me for the lack of men’s urinals, (squat only, or cabin) and that the rial trades for about 10,000 per dollar. So with my mere $60 exchanged, I’m ready for any little expenses.

Well, gotta run catch the big coach for a flight to Kish Island.