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Exotic Tribes
Be a responsible traveller. Show tribal people respect and meet them on their premises. Visiting people with a different lifestyle and culture could sometimes be a very rewarding adventure, but be aware of that many tribal communities are extremely vulnerable to outside influences. All tribal people need to be protected from tourists in order to preserve their unique lifestyle and cultures. Travellers should understand that some tribes would like to live undisturbed, and that visit would be an intrusion.

Iran – the land of hospitality- Part 2 of 2

2004-08-06
Italia has the Colluseum, England has the Buckingham Palace, France has the Eiffeltower and US has the Statue of Liberty, but more than any other country in the world Iran has the true hospitality. This gives you the magical experience of travelling in an exciting country.

 

Photo. Visiting nomads in Iran, the Bakhtyari tribe. © Travel Explorations.

This is a true story about Iran, not like the other news articles you find in the media other places in the world with sensational headlines.

 

Be aware of that nothing in this country is ever quite what you expect, and the only thing to expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and will always be a great enrichment for you.

 

Photo. People from the Bakhtyari nomad tribe. They invited me in to their house high up in the mountain. © Travel Explorations.
 

Trough history Iran has been attacked by several enemies as the Arabs, Turkish, Mongols with Genghis Kahn and Taimor Lang, Alexander the Great and Iraqis. Iran has also been giving a hard time by the Russians, French, Portuguese, British and the US and some others. The American President Bush went so far in his opinion about Iran that he named Iran has one of the three countries of the "axis of evil" in his 29 January 2002 state of the union address.

 

Despite all the bad experiences with foreigners, Iranians show a unique hospitality to visitors. In general they are very nice, warm hearted, opened minded and eager to talk to foreigners. Due to negative publicity in the media Iran has got an unfairly bad reputation around the world. This has made peoples` image of Iranian stereotypes that don't give the correct impression about how the Iranians really are.

Photo. People from the Bakhtyari nomad tribe. © Travel Explorations.

They showed the Iranian hospitality at its best. I was delighted to be their guest, and it was fantastic to be with them.

 

In my opinion the media around the world cover mostly tragedies, catastrophes, wars, terror actions and other conflicts that make the people feel unsafe. Few medias are interested in the truth about how the ordinary people are. In Iran's case the anti-Iranian propaganda has dominating the media word-wide for more 20 - 30 years, maybe longer. Especially after the Islamic revolution the country's relation to the rest of the world changed dramatically, and then especially to western world. Most stories have been written with a narrow view with mainly focus on the priest ruled government.

 

Not dangerous, just rewarding

Many people believe that it`s dangerous to go to Iran. They are thinking there are terrorists and fanatic religious people all around, which is far from truth. So when you travel to Iran, beware of curious looking people when you walk around. It's nothing to be worried about. The people just want to make friendship with you. They really want the best for you.

 

I experience many time that people where curious about me and my background. Even though they couldn't speak other languages they stopped me on the streets and other places to say hello and shake hands. The Iranians are very similar as the Irish in one way: the ability to make friendship with other people, and as the Irish say: "A friend is a person you have never met before"! If you get to know them, they will show you their secret and favourite places, and sometimes invite you to their private homes. That will be a fantastic experience you never forget.

 

Photo. A group of Qashqai nomads prepare for a dance. © Travel Explorations.

First did the women dance, and so the men. The men invited me to dance with them in the fericous Choppy-dance.

 

 

The Islamic religion is based on making friendship

The strong Irianinan women Shirin Ebadi' received the Nobel Peace Prize 10 December 2003 for her democracy-building efforts and her work to improve human rights in Iran. She was the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman who won a Nobel Prize in the 102-year-old history of the award. Ebadi stated in her speech that the Charter of Cyrus the Great was one of the most important documents that should be studied in the history of human rights. "I am a Muslim. In the Quran the Prophet of Islam has been cited as saying: 'Thou shalt believe in thine faith and I in my religion.' That same divine book sees the mission of all prophets as that of inviting all human beings to uphold justice. Since the advent of Islam, too, Iran's civilization and culture has become imbued and infused with humanitarianism, respect for the life, belief and faith of others, propagation of tolerance and compromise and avoidance of violence, bloodshed and war."

 

The Iranian traffic system

The Iranians took good care of me trough all stages of the tour. In one place I really needed practical assistance more than ever in my life: it was in the unpredictable Iranian traffic system! This was my biggest culture shock in Iran, but since I had such good friends there was no problem. The traffic system in Iran is probably the only thing now a days that makes the visitors real worried. Based on facts Iran has the highest car-accident rate in the world. When accidents happen in the very busy traffic in the large cities there can be something like a Domino- or Billard (Snooker-play) effect, which is characterised by several cars bumping in to each others like  (just like bumper cars at the Amusement parks).

 

Iranians have a strong tendency to ignore both pedestrians and traffic regulations. The regulations are not very different from other countries around the world, but one thing you should be aware of: Iranian see ignoring traffic regulations as a personal challenge. They have no respect for traffic lights, and seldom stop for red light - just when the police are observing the traffic. For me it was strange to see all the brave pedestrians who ventured out in the streets at the busiest time of the day. They tried to cross the streets everywhere.

 

Do not assume that driver will stop for you at official crossing places. You have to look carefully in several directions before you take a step out in the streets. Drivers are coming from everywhere both on cars, trucks and motorbikes. When the driver flash their lights or signal with their horns it would only make you more confused: what do they really mean? Do they want you to cross the street, or it's just for warning you? Anyway you need to be 100 % concentrated in the middle of the streets, and forget about your guidebook or newspaper until you stand on safe ground.

 

Story about the two tomatoes

The Iranians take really good care of their guests. I told my guide Ali the joke about two tomatoes that were crossing a street. One of the tomatoes was hit by a reckless driver and was totally crushed. Then the other tomatoes said: COME ON KETCHUP!

 

My guide Ali laughed a lot, but he understood the seriousness about the situation. He took my hand and started to lead me across a street in Shiraz. I tripped at almost every step. The car drivers didn't slow down at all. Since we walked hand in hand, it was pretty peculiar for both me and others who starred at us, but as Ali said: YOU HAVE JUST FEW DAYS LEFT, AND I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE THE KETCHUP!

 

Iranians are flexible to other cultures

Actually the Iranians are not so much unlike the westerns. Few minutes after the plain was taking off from the airport in Tehran, the women took off their scarves and the men started drinking alcohol. They really like to be Iranians, but first and foremost the like freedom to choose their own lifestyle, culture and religion. And based on their religion they find it most rewarding to make friendship to others.

 

No tourist attractions in the world can compare with the greatest tourist attraction in Iran: THE IRANIAN HOSPITALITY!

 

That's the way the Iranians are. They are the same everywhere I have encountered them around the world: friendly, warm hearted open minded and eager to talk. And that's why I appreciate this people so much. They are really something!

 

Stein Morten Lund, 6 August 2004

 

Additional information

Here is a resume from the strong Iranian women Shirin Ebadi's speech when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo (Norway) in 2003 (from the website Women in Iran: http://womeniniran.org):

 

"I am an Iranian. A descendent of Cyrus The Great. The very emperor who proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2500 years ago that '... he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it.' And [he] promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all."

 

Ebadi stated that the Charter of Cyrus The Great was one of the most important documents that should be studied in the history of human rights. "I am a Muslim. In the Quran the Prophet of Islam has been cited as saying: 'Thou shalt believe in thine faith and I in my religion.' That same divine book sees the mission of all prophets as that of inviting all human beings to uphold justice. Since the advent of Islam, too, Iran's civilization and culture has become imbued and infused with humanitarianism, respect for the life, belief and faith of others, propagation of tolerance and compromise and avoidance of violence, bloodshed and war."

 

She cited "the luminaries of Iranian literature" such as Hafiz, Mowlavi (better known in the West as Rumi), Attar, Saadi, Sanaei, Naser Khosrow and Nezami as "emissaries of this humanitarian culture."

 

She said that their message manifested itself in the poem by Saadi:

 

The sons of Adam are limbs of one another

Having been created of one essence.

 

When the calamity of time afflicts one limb

The other limbs cannot remain at rest.

 

"The people of Iran have been battling against consecutive conflicts between tradition and modernity for over 100 years. By resorting to ancient traditions, some have tried and are trying to see the world through the eyes of their predecessors and to deal with the problems and difficulties of the existing world by virtue of the values of the ancients. But, many others, while respecting their historical and cultural past and their religion and faith, seek to go forth in step with world developments and not lag behind the caravan of civilization, development and progress," Ebadi continued. "The people of Iran, particularly in the recent years, have shown that they deem participation in public affairs to be their right, and that they want to be masters of their own destiny."

 

Read more about her speech at in the article (at the website Women in Iran):

http://womeniniran.org/english

 

How do the  president of US consider  Iran:

During his State of the Union address, Bush listed Iran, North Korea, and Iraq as a new "axis of evil" that his administration will confront.

(Bush Lays Down a Marker for 3 'Evil' States, By Karen DeYoung, Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, January 30, 2002; Page A01: www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/ 

 

 

Actual this dance is more like a fighting game. I took the challenge, which all in the crow appriciated. The show must go on!

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