16 June 2009
Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC
When I was sixteen and traveled overland from Katmandu to London, riding into Iran from the east felt like driving into civilization. We were wide eyed to see groomed parks and families having picnics with ornate silver tea pots. Dusty and worn after riding local transportation through Afghanistan we landed in a bus station shortly after crossing the border. We perched on our ratty suitcases and bags while my father asked the bus station manager for advice on a reasonable hotel.
The station manager was ready to close for the day and escorted my dad to a hotel close by. Then, deciding that they asked too much for what they offered he claimed he would take us all home with him for the night. Taking "us all" included six scrappy hungry kids and my parents. At this stage of our adventures I was the eldest of the pack.
We went to his house inside a small compound and met his wife and shy daughter peaking from her skirts. His English was limited and he called his wife "my friend". He had to return to close business for the day and left saying, "my friend will make you tea."
At bedtime we stretched out on the floor in a room with oriental carpets and bolster pillows and we were tired enough that we slept like babies. In Iran. With kind new friends.
Thinking today of all the brave young people fighting for freedom of speech. Visit Tehran Live for daily photos of the recent election protests.