As Americans, you’re not allowed to wander around Iran alone. You’re supposed to be guarded by an MFA-approved tour agency at all times following a strict itinerary. But that was not the case today. In true Monsooning fashion, we decided to skirt the rules a bit and see how far we could push the rules.
As our tour officially ended yesterday, we were able to sneak in an extra day in Iran. With all the graciousness and kindness in the world, the tour agency listed us technically “still part of a tour” while we were able to freely wander about Tehran on our own. And so we did.
We hit up a couple of shopping bazaars that only locals go to (not the standard touristy-bazaar that tour agencies take foreigners to), one of which took over an entire parking garage/ramp/building and was total crowded chaos.
But this was also the best place to get things for cheap as we were paying local prices on the best day of the week to go shopping (Friday is their day off and therefore also the day when the local bazaars open up shop and sell at their lowest prices). And I managed to get some things that I normally would have gotten for 40-50x the price had I shopped in countries that, erm, weren’t under intense sanctions.
Afterwards we met up with a few local Tehran-ian friends of Evan’s and Vahid, a mutual friend of mine I met through the AIESEC network, who all took us around a side of Tehran only locals know.
This was the part of the trip I have been looking forward to all week: There’s nothing like making new friends as your travel, and making the most out of the limited time you have together by creating the potential for a lifelong connection.
And nothing like making that connection while overlooking Tehran from the top of Bome Tehran at night, before getting one of the tightest goodbye hugs from someone you had just met.
What a perfect last day to end our week in Iran.
- At time of posting in Tehran-Mehrabad, it was 15 °C - Humidity: 77% | Wind Speed: n/a | Cloud Cover: few clouds