The Islamic Republic of Iran Welcomes Me

I’ve got a whopping 18 hours of so before I get back into an aluminum tube for an extended stay in the air tomorrow night. I never sleep well onboard, despite the piles of gadgets I get sent to try out. One blow up tubular pillow extends up the shoulder, and looked ridiculous, not effective as a sleep aid. I flight attendant mocked me as she passed by on the US Air flight to Manchester.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has proven to be frustrating…already three writers have bailed out of the trip, after confusion over the visa and the process of getting it was bumming people out. I dutifully fedxed my passport and $125 to the Pakistan embassy, where the Íranian Interests Section’ is located. Then they called, telling me I didn’t get the visa from them, and that I’d get it in the Tehran airport. Oh well. I have the passport, so I’m ready to roll.

The last minute announcement of this trip didn’t make some people happy. My daughter and Cindy, both a little bummed that old Max ain’t gonna be around for the next 12 days. It’s nice to be missed, and spending Thanksgiving in Shiraz instead of drinking Syrah sounds like a great time to me. Still, there’s a very mixed bag of reactions to my latest intinerary.

But when I tell anyone whose a traveler, their eyes light up. They get why I’m willing to sit on that plane for 15 hours, and spend 10 days in a country where booze is illegal over a hoilday. Because Iran’s history, richness, beauty that goes back so many centuries, and it’s a traveler’s destination. It’s exotic and different, and far away, and will be a great video subject.

I have been reading Ín the Rose Garden of the Martyrs’ by Christopher de Bellaigue, who writes about life there. He has a laconic style, sort of drifting in and out of these horrific scenes like during the Iran/Iraq war, and the slow process of converting a once Western-styled nation back into fundamentalism with such strict rules.

I’m sure one of the funnest parts will be to see how Iranians delight in rebelling, and testing the status quo. That’s a theme in all of the books I’ve read about Iran so far.

Today I got a call from a reporter named Tom from Bloomberg News. He’s going to include me in an article about heating oil price contracts, since he saw the piece on MassLive about it. I gave him some good quotes, about how next year I’m buying it by the tank, and then got him to promise me a mention of GoNOMAD.