Chaharshanbeh, the 4th of Khordad 1390/Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Fairly uneventful day today.
Sadra and I decided that in my second day in Iran, kabobs were a must. We went to the local kabob place down the street and the food was quite enjoyable, but not compared to the show a young couple put on for us in the restaurant. We ordered kabob sultani and joojeh kabob ba ostokhoon and the entertainment was on the house. The girl was obviously agitated the moment they walked in the restaurant. She literally put her head on the table and was pouting. “Ok,” I thought, “the poor thing’s having a bad day. Eat your food.” Although I couldn’t quite hear/understand the conversation, bickering is a universal language and needed no translation. I couldn’t help but stare at this couple, which in the U.S. is rude, but perfectly normal here in Iran. So stare quite obviously I did. She threw the bread at him with annoyance, eyes flickering with hatred. He seemed by all means apologetic. By the time their food came, things had heated up. She said something, he said something and before you knew it she got up and stormed the restaurant without even touching the food. She showed him. The poor guy was in shock and stuck with the bill. He immediately paid the bill and attempted to find the girl huffing and puffing down the streets of Tehran. Alas he was too late. She was gone. One more lonely boy in Tehran tonight.
After eating kabob, we walked home and saw a stray kitty outside our apartment. As you can tell from the photo we had way too much food, so we gave a chicken wing to the kitty, which he happily ran away with. Seeing all these stray kitties makes me miss my Jamal and Kitten so so much. Perhaps I can adopt a little stray while I’m here.
After a short nap, Sadra and I went to check out what was going on at the local park near the apartment. This park was pretty banging. We saw some pretty intense games of badminton being played by men and women alike. The park was laid out very nicely with steps that led up a slope framed by flowers and fountains. To the right of the park were little amusement park rides and a roller skating rink. At top were men selling roasted corn. My favorite part of the park was the work out equipment conveniently placed next to the playground. The idea I suppose being parents can work on their fitness while children play in the park. Now when I say work out equipment, please note these are not mechanisms you would see in an average gym. I find it hard describing it in words the older ladies holding an iron circle above them and just twisting left and right (working on abs?), another station where you turn circles with both hands, to name a few. My favorite mechanism by far was an uncoordinated elliptical. See photos below for some of my favorite machines.
Sadra on the Elliptical like machine. Something tells me there is a similar apparatus used in North Korea to generate electricity for the Great Leader.
On a sadder note, I wanted to mention something that happens here which you don’t see in the U.S. In the past few days we have been approached by children who beg in the streets for money. They follow you for a long time pleading for money. As much as you want to give them money, you worry that the money will go to support the parent(s) and not the child. Now it’s not like I’ve never seen a beggar before. You see the homeless out on the streets back home and there were always beggars outside major cathedrals across Europe. However, I have never physically seen a child asking for money before. Today was no exception and we were approached by a young boy at the park. (Keep in mind this is an affluent area of Tehran.) Sadra asked the boy what ride he would like to go on the most and bought him a ticket for the bumper cars. Despite having a social services department in place, the infrastructure does not do a good enough job to help these children, who are most likely being abused. This problem is probably not as rampant as in other much more impoverished countries, but it really makes you think what’s most important in life. What I have taken for granted. A wonderful childhood, parents who loved me, and supported me, and a life void of worries.
I’m sorry to preach to you in this light hearted blog, but I think it’s important that we recognize such things happen across the globe every day. It’s easy to forget.