bort43 (bort43) wrote,


In response to my previous post athenais asked "How did you end up in Tehran?"

My father and I were on our way to Israel, and had to change flights in Tehran. Rather than just spending however-many hours in transit at the airport, we decided to spend a week in the country itself. Three days/nights in Tehran, two in Shiraz and two in Isfahan. It was December 1976. I was 16 and it was the first stop on my first overseas trip.

Thirty years later I don't have many distinct memories. Tehran I remember as a grimy big city that was trying to look like it wasn't middle-eastern. I really liked Shiraz, which I remember as having older, more interesting architecture and more city pride. I wasn't able to get much out of Isfahan as I came down with a dose of travellers-tummy and spent most of the time in bed. I also remember that I liked the Shirizians far nicer than the Tehranese. The former were generally far more welcoming and happy to chat. I remember that seemingly everyone there were advising us to visit Persepolis (the ruins of what was once a capital of the Persian Empire, located about a 45 minute drive from Shiraz.) When we said we'd been there – it was the first thing we did after checking into our hotel - they were eager to know what we thought of it, etc. By contrast everyone in Tehran just wanted to get the transaction over as soon as possible.

I also remember that we couldn't go anywhere without tripping over a photo of the Shah. I wasn't sure how to interpret this. It was certainly a new experience, since Aussies don't revere their Head of State to anything like that. A couple of years later the Shah was deposed.

For internal travel we flew with Iran Air, and on the first flight I remember feeling that something was not right. However I couldn't put my finger on just what. Then my father was looking at the what-to-do-in-an-emergency card, and I saw 'TAA' printed across the top, and realised that what was wrong was that there were kangaroos all around me. TAA was Trans Australia Airways (later to change its name to Australia Airlines and later again taken over by Qantas.) Turned out that a large part of Iran Air's fleet had been bought off TAA. In the air we were back home, on the ground it was foreign country.


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