A copy of the email I sent to my address list

Dear friends and family,

I am still living and working in Mersin. The summer is hot and humid with no rain for 2 months. It’s hard to believe Istanbul flooded earlier this week.

In a few days I will visit Iran for a 2 week holiday. Iran borders eastern Turkey and it is one of the most historic and interesting countries in the world. As the centre of the former Persian Empire, Iran has a large amount of fantastic architecture. Besides Turkey, the other countries Iran borders are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran also lies on the Persian Gulf across from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Exciting, hey?

Despite what many uninformed people think, Iran is not an Arab country. The two most important events in modern Iranian history are the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 and the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. Iran is now controlled by a religious theocracy and the rules are very strict. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden; alcohol is not easy to find; the mixing of the genders is limited; and women must wear a head-scarf in public. 70% of Iranians are under the age of 30 and there is a large generation gap between the older and younger generations.

In the right-hand column of my blog at www.taheny.com I have several links for Iran, including other travellers’ photos and accounts of their time there. On my blog you can also comment after each posting I make and place your figure on my guestmap of the world (also in the right-hand column. I expect many more tiny humans on the guestmap!

I am very much looking forward to my trip. I will be travelling with a Swiss friend. Whilst I’m in Iran I plan to update the blog every couple of days. The cities we plan to visit are Tabriz, Tehran (home of the world’s craziest traffic!), Shiraz (where the grape got its name), Esfahan and Yazd. The internet access will be limited on my trip and the blog will be first priority so I may take some time replying to emails- be patient!

This will be my first visit to an ‘axis of evil’ country 🙂

Cheers,

Joe