Neil's Wheels part 5

I know I’ve not posted parts 1, 2, 3 or 4, but today I thought I’d share that my 84-year-old Grandpa Neil is once again travelling the world while I have to read about it from a stinking desk. He’s in Iran for now (which is actually a place I’m not sure I would want to visit being a woman, but he is not a woman and is much friendlier and open than me) for 3 weeks and then Turkey for 3 weeks. I’ll give some history later as to why he is going to Turkey which involves a near-death experience on his part – intrigued?
Anywho – he’s number 5 of his adventures emailed by the Crazy Uncle Steve:

Neil’s followers;
            Neil called last night with the latest.  He sounded great and is having a good time.
            The traffic in Teheran is similar to what he saw in the bigger cities of China and around the Arc de Triomphein Paris.  As long as the drivers do not make eye contact, they have the right-of-way.  As soon as you see someone (and they see that you see them), then you must yield to them.  It is a system that works.  Being courteous is out of the question.
            In the museums Neil noticed that the groups of children are segregated by gender.  The boys are much noisier and pushier – unlike boys in Oregon who are all polite and quiet.  Of whatever gender, they all wanted, for some reason, to have their picture taken with Neil.
            One of the girls walked up to him and asked if he spoke Farsi.  When he replied that he did not, she matter-of-factly said that she spoke English.
            While walking through a park, Neil came upon a family group having a picnic.  The grandmother offered him a cup of tea – and they were greatly pleased that he drank it.  A man in the group told him that Iranians all love Americans – and would Neil please transmit that message to “them.”  He said that they do not like either government.
            Much to my surprise and delight, when they checked out of the hotel, Neil was charged only $27 for three international phone calls and one fax.  Clearly, the hotel management isn’t up-to-date on Western ideas of revenue-enhancement techniques.  Meanwhile, my inheritance is secure!
            The Tour left Teheran for a 400 km (approximately 248.547 miles) westward ride to the city of Hamadan.  At 6000 feet (2000 meters) of elevation, it is much cooler than Teheran, with snow on the mountain tops.  For dinner he had fried trout, lots of rice, and saffron/pistachio ice cream.
            The Tour uses a 12-seat van which is pretty comfortable and the people in the group are friendly.  One woman walks with two canes – which makes Neil feel better about using only one.  He wondered how she managed with the squat toilets at gas stations – but elected not to ask.
            Along the route to Hamadan, they stopped at the number one tourist sight in all of Iran, the famous cave of Ali Sadr.  According to Neil, the cave is underground.  (Please notice that your editor restrained himself and didn’t put any sarcastic comment here.)
            This cave contains a large lake and the Tour got to take a boat ride.  Two guys in a rowboat pulled four other boats that were tied behind – just like the River Styx.  Neil didn’t report anything about the cave except that he had some difficulty walking on the narrow paths, stairs, and floating boat docks.
            While in Hamadan, the tour guide told Neil to stop walking around by himself.  She wanted to avoid any “incidents” with an American citizen.  He was to walk only in groups.  If the police didn’t like something that a Japanese or a French tourist did, it would be no big issue.  But, the same thing, done by an American, would be in all the newspapers world-wide.  After breakfast, she relented and told him he could walk around solo outside – as long as he was within sight of the hotel.  Neil sounded appropriately chastened and also admitted that perhaps taking pictures of military installations was unwise.
            The girls of Iran wear a black headscarf, a waist-length tunic, and tight jeans.


            I’m sorry if this report is a little staccato.  Neil makes notes, calls me up, and rattles off his notes while I transcribe his words.  At least, this way you don’t have to plow through long narratives about cave visits.  After all, if you’ve seen one, you’ve them all.




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