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.