In an very engaging presentation that could have continued easily past our allotted time, Shirish shared with us his first visit to Tehran. Full of stories and fascinating facts, he gave us an insight into the life, the people and the environment from his first-hand experience.
Despite what people often think, it is a safe but polluted place. Surprisingly, it has the same safety rating as the USA, Belgium, France and the UK. Shirish felt a sense of security and well-being there, with families walking out happily and freely and the hospitality is incredible. Everyone is very friendly, no matter where you are or who they are. They are just very pleased to see you visiting their country.
There are mountains, which many people don’t expect and ski fields just outside of the city. There are solid Middle Eastern business connections, even with sanctions applied on trade with other countries. However, international credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard do not work in Iran, and you can’t get your phone to work without buying an Iranian SIM card. On the bright side though … petrol is incredibly cheap at only 30c per litre (having just gone up from 18c! Taxis operate like buses on fixed routes and most cars are old bangers!
It wasn’t all work though for him! Shirish shared some pictures of an evening tour to see the markets, interesting lighting designs in the public spaces, and his visit to a mosque. He commented how very green and beautifully maintained.
Iran is quite different from some of the other Middle Eastern countries in terms of religion, education, dependence, culture, appearance, and the language. This evening, we were lucky enough to see some of that through Shirish’s eyes.
Club members attended a fantastic night at the movies to watch Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks.
As well as having a fun night evening, some of the proceeds wet to raise money for The Rotary Foundation to help End Polio Now. Since 1985 Rotary has led the battle against polio, and kept the pressure on as worldwide cases plummeted. Now, Rotary and its partners are close to making that dream a reality, with only two countries reporting Polio cases last year.
Colin Meurk joined us on October 14 to talk about the Christchurch 360 Trail. He spearheaded the project from the beginning and has put years into this project, an idea that is now a reality and there for everyone to enjoy.
What is the Christchurch 360 Trail?
The Christchurch 360 Trail showcases the wonderful diversity of Christchurch, featuring not just the flora and fauna but also historical, architectural, and cultural aspects of Christchurch. It is approximately 130km long, encircling the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.
A variety of Rotary Clubs have helped in many different ways to develop this wonderful way of appreciating the environment around us; Rotary New Horizons recently helped to mark out a part of the trail.
The trail is divided into stages and you can do some or … like Colin … all of the trail over a few days. Along the way you can see a range of flora and fauna and some amazing views, as well as some quirky things you would otherwise not have seen, or stopped to appreciate.