It is a national holiday today in Iran, in fact, it is the commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the death of Imam Khomeini, a key person in the Islamic revolution, and still venerated today by the supporters of the regime set up in 1979, while clearly criticized by the opponents. It is a celebration which we noticed just at stepping out of the hotel. Sidewalks are almost deserted, all the stores have the shutters down, and you can cross the road without taking a serious risk of being run over by a car given the total carelessness of car drivers about pedestrians (inattention found throughout the country).
In any case, we decide to roam around town trying to understand who Iranians spend they spend their days during a holiday. We take a tram and surprisingly, Stefania is stopped. She cannot follow her group climbing from the front door, its only for men, she must enter from the back door which is the entrance for women. It looks rather funny, yet, we must admit that this is also “the” Iran with its Islamic rules.
We go to the Town Hall’s Square, where the black flags next to the Khomeini’s giant posters waving in mourning. At this very moment, besides a group of men sitting on the benches and chatting under the shade of the mulberry trees. But right in this square, once the sun hat set, therefore, during the night break of Ramadan fast, food tea and drinks will be served to start the celebrations which will be ongoing until the day of tomorrow.
So, we go to the Elgoli park, which means pool in the local language. In fact, it is a sort of big pool full of giant red fish and seagulls searching for food, built in a park where families go strolling, and people go jogging, young boys and girls who “walk down the catwalk” winking at each other. … The atmosphere you can feel is a relaxed and quiet holiday.
By lunch time we go back to the hotel, and because it is Sunday for us too it is a good excuse to have some rest before going back looking for some “night life” around the streets of town. As a matter of fact, around six, along the way that takes to the place of the celebrations for the leader, we find several people, men and women, with their mourning black dresses who are certainly going to the event, and some shops, among the hundreds of them, are timidly open. We try to film the discourse in honor of Khomeini, but we are stopped. Therefore, we decide to spend the time chatting with some Iranians who, as usual, are fascinated by our presence. In the blink of an eye its dinner time, and while strolling around we manage to find a typical restaurant which seem to be really inviting. It’s an ancient hammam changed into a tea room where you can also enjoy typical Iranian cuisine. So, we sit cross-legged on their typical Persian carpets enjoying a good dinner based on disi (which we know and already described in our Diary on our first day in Iran), and which we are delighted with.