Friday, August 12, 2005

New hyphen: crossing guard

Dusk after a cooling rain brought a bit of relief from the heat. We walked around a part in the northern part of the city, which is still south of my hotel. People were playing netless badminton, rollerblading, or bashing around soccer and volleyballs. Families and couples strolled around our lounged on the broad lawns of the "People's Park." Despite my declaration a few days earlier, I did indeed cross the street - four times.

I visited my first bazaar, a small one apparently. It was an indoor spot, despite the breezy connotations of the word conjures up when it does not take place in a school gym. Instead of piles of spices or dates or silk, there were clothing stores, shoe shops and a few places dedicated to Iranian arts and crafts. There was one that sold enameled copperware, however, an item high on my souvenir list. The bazaar building itself was gorgeous with its elaborate tiled facade and the paintings and other touches decorating the interior corridors of the building. It reminded me of the Kunstmuseum in Vienna, where the building alone was a feast for the eye.

I stopped in a fast food restaurant for a burger and a taste of ordinary life. The restaurant was just like a fast-foodie at home, though there were separate queues for men and women and signs request respect or Islamic traditions. There was a playroom for the kids and even a face painter. While there I had a chance to talk about American politics and the differences between Canada and the U Michael moor's Bowling for Columbine, which has been seen in Iran, was a point of reference and helped us make ourselves clear about some of the differences between those two countries.

I also learned that the thumbs up sign is an obscene gesture like the finger. (No the finger is not used for praise of approval.) Now I have to find another way to assure people that their apologies are accepted or unnecessary.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

Thumbs up.