Friday, September 02, 2005

A stroll

Thursday night, after the long day that set the tone for my last post, I went to Jam E Jaam, Tehran's first, and only, food court. One of the professors at the university mentioned it on a regular basis and its two mentions in my Lonely Planet further strengthened his resolve that we had to go. With that in mind and the clock ticking on my stay here, I was whisked away to a food court for, as they put it, a chance to ease back into North American life. Jam E Jaam was quite modern with a sporting goods store, a shop selling western foods and toiletries and even a small Ikea outlet.

I opted for Mexican and did a bit of people watching. After being surrounded by students all week I was expecting them to start coming out of the woodwork. Instead though, I saw younger people dressed as western as possible with women showing as much of their dyed hair as tolerable despite the gauntlet of signs reminding them to keep their heads covered. They were clearly trying to look more like Nastassja Kinski look in Tess than the dour, conservative look the ayatollahs want.

I went for a stroll to the nearest bazaar, which is about and hour's walk away. Another professor and I decided to venture out for a closer look at the neighbourhood. I also took the opportunity to pick up some dates and fire off a few more pictures of everyday life to complement my post card variety shots. It was an interesting stroll, especially through the bazaar where we could see bootleg Farsi copies of Madagascar and other recent movies, not to mention computer software. It was a hard slog back up the hill to the hotel but made for a very pleasant change of routine.