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Impressive Iran and exhausting days - By Yuri Steinbuch

Tabriz, August 24, 2016

Today we will travel from Maku to Tabriz. Before we start our journey, though, Ted has prepared some sightseeing for us. It is quite and interesting ride through the cities and towns here in Iran. It's very busy and the traffic is hectic, going right, going left, passing other cars whenever and wherever you want. It is a great experience; although it might seem chaotic, it remains safe because everyone knows ho wit works and it is actually quite fun!

When we leave, Ted is clearly disappointed; he wants to show us so much more. It feels wrong to say no, but fort he sake of our journey we should continue. Therefore, we say goodbe to Ted and continue towars Tabriz. Tsahid from Tabriz University joins us in his own ca rand leads us all the way tot he city of Tabriz. The road is a national road in not such a good condition filled with trucks, so the trip takes longer than expected on forehand. It is remarkable what happens every time we stop next to the road; within minutes, Wave and our team are surrounded by many people taking pictures. They all want to shake our hand and know what we are doing. They are also very fond of pictures!

When we arrive in Tabriz, about 40 people awaited us with flowers! The rest of the day was governed by Tsahid and the other of the university. They have a whole schedule planned out for us, to give us the best time possible. It feels great that peopel care so much, but it is very tiring as well and it feels hard sometimes beause we keep having to say no. They actually wanted us to visit three additional musea and give a presentation in the largest park of the city at around 02:00 in the evening… We can't keep up with that! It is really hard to say no to such kind people that clearly want the best for us, but unfortunately we have to.

At the end of the day we have a dinner with the mayor, the spiritual leader and the head of the university of Tabriz (who is higher in rank here in Iran than the mayor). The dinner was held at what appeared tob e a very expensive restaurant on the top of the highest summit of Tabriz. You could see the entire city and it is amazingly large. I have never seen such a big city from above and am truly impressed.

The diner was great, with soup, kebab and even a small desert (very nice baklava). During the diner, I feel a bit awkward sometimes, not knowing exactly the customs of this country, certainly when it comes to the female students that are also there. I tried to hold open the door fors ome of the girls, but that was definitely not custom; I tried to ask them multiple times to go first (duet o Tarov, look it up if interested!), but they insisted I go first**. Shame I cannot play a galant man here, which Iike to do so much. It takes some getting used to. After the dinner, some folklore music was played before we went back to our hotel.

It was a very tiring day, with so many new impressions, so many things to do. It is very easy to fall asleep, but I really feel like I cannot process this all-in the little time left before I go to sleep. I guess the processing will be done when we are home again, 70 days from now, because from now on our days will be filled by foreign cultures and exciting events!

**Edit: I was just in contact with one of the people from Tabriz and they told me I misinterpreted: it was not because of the male-female part but because I was their guest so I should go first! Thanks Nazanin for telling me!

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