Monday Jan 14, 2008

Getting off LH601

This was LH 601, Jan. 6, scheduled to depart at around 3 am Tehran time from the IKIA airport. We got on board and the snow started and it did not let go. Visibility was quite poor and roads to the airport were later closed.

We got off the plane at around 10 am and taken to a "transit" area for another 10 hours or so, and later to a hotel. (It stopped snowing at around 7 pm on that day.)

Addenda:

I've written about the problem earlier.

Press TV reports the dismissal of the IKIA airport managing director.



Thursday Jan 10, 2008

Buying Bread in Tehran

Here's a brief video of a sangak bread bakery in Tehran. It shows the bakers and a customer engaged in a transaction.

 

Thursday Dec 13, 2007

Taking the Tehran Metro

It is getting really late here in Tehran but a friend at work had sent me a request asking me to write a few things about what I'm doing. 

I've been in Tehran now for the last two days, and besides reading the local papers, eating Persian food, and visiting with my parents, my grandmother, my aunts and my uncle, I had a chance to get out a bit. Earlier today (3 am California time), and along with my family and my brother and his family (visiting from Turkey), I took the Tehran Metro from the Beheshti station, near my parents' home to the Sa'di station. Ticket price for all seven of us: less than $2. Objective: to travel to the electronics bazaar near Sa'di square to buy a new home phone system for my parents, to buy a new fax machine for my dad and to pay a short visit to Cafe Naderi, for  cappuccino, ice-cream and cake. (The cappuccino could be better but the Turkish coffee was excellent. Incidentally, Panasonic rules the phone and fax market here, and the choice was rather quick given the abundance of supply.)

The Tehran Metro Art is quite astounding and the continuous improvements in the last few years in passenger management, traffic and ticketing (including RFID installations) are quite nice to see, and of course, what might impress some visitors most would be its cleanliness.

 


Route: Line2
Station: Azadi
Art Name: Winter
Artist Name: Ali Mehdi Heidari
Dimensions: 4.95\*2.40 (meter)
Art Kind: Tiles

 

The only problem is that Tehran can use scores of other stations and many more lines (see the current map), and unfortunately, at one point, I did read in The Washington Post that the large Chinese conglomerate which originally supplied some of the electric powered wagons used in the Tehran Metro  was subsequently, and very soon, put on the sanctions list by the U.S. This was about 3 or 4 years ago, I believe. I did read later, somewhere in the Iranian media, that Iran is now making these wagons in the country but I'm sure it will always be much more convenient and timely to use some of the production capacity in China or elsewhere to supply the lines and more capital investment can surely help with building the remaining lines and stations...but Persians, like all traditional and rooted cultures (and that just happens to be a good starting definition for any culture), are a patient people and will always value honor, commerce, justice and generosity more than threats and hand-outs.

Friday Jul 20, 2007

Where I hope to be skiing this winter

My wife just handed me the August 2007 edition of the Outside magazine which a good family friend had given her while she was visiting her hometown, Santa Barbara, last week.

The magazine features a full report by Josh Dean on skiing and snowboarding the slopes around Tehran. (The photo gallery, by Alex Tehrani, can be found here. Other photos, including some from the runs and lifts at one of the resorts, can only be viewed by subscription. They were included in the magazine report but not free online.)

This is good news. Last month, I bought tickets for the whole family to visit Tehran this coming December. We are hoping to do some skiing. While the report makes me somewhat more hopeful, I'm still not sure whether there will be enough snow that early in the season but what can I do? That's when I have my vacation. In the meantime, I'll keep my hopes alive. The best thing is that we can live with rental skis and don't have to lug our own from California.

Thursday May 31, 2007

Tehran Metro Art


Route: Line2
Station: Azadi
Art Name: Winter
Artist Name: Ali Mehdi Heidari
Dimensions: 4.95\*2.40 (meter)
Art Kind: Tiles

To view Tehran Metro art pieces, turn here.

Saturday May 05, 2007

Neghar-ghari Art Exhibition


 

A scene from Neghar-ghari Art Exhibition, Tehran.

For more photos from the exhibition, see here and here

Wednesday Jan 10, 2007

Joobs of Tehran

Small water ways (joobs) have criss-crossed Tehran, from the time it was but a small village 250 years ago to the present, when it has become the indigenous metropolis of the Middle East.  Better city planning during the Pahlavi regime, when the city experienced its initial, real growth into a modern metropolis, could have made these canals a more wonderful feature of the urban fabric. These short videos were taken experimentally with a Nikon digital photo camera during the last week of November, 2007. Since Tehran Metro has been built, the air pollution has seen a real reduction, and these water ways add a very nice natural touch to the urban landscape. They flow from the portion of Alborz Mountains range just north of Tehran. (Tochal the highest mountain just north of Tehran carries snow through the summer.) It is accessible directly from Tehran by one of the world's longest telecabins, and many use it for skiing in the winter time.

 

Thursday Dec 21, 2006

A Painting Biennial in Tehran

 

While looking for a photo of yalda celebrations this year, I ran into this interesting photo from the scene of The Fourth International Painting Biennial of The Islamic World in Tehran, Iran.

Click on it and you'll see a larger image at Flickr.

I believe the biennial started in the last week of November, and it looks like it ended today, December, 21, 2006.

Here are some other pictures I found.

It would be good to see more photographs of this exhibition. (As another example, check out this work.) There does not seem to be a website for the biennial or one that actually displays all the paintings.

I believe my friend, and ex-Berkeley-ite, Bobak Etminani, also has several paintings on display in the biennial.

Friday Nov 24, 2006

Thanksgiving in Tehran

Since I have been traveling to Europe to attend a work-related meeting the week after Thanksgiving, I decided to see if I could take an extra day off to pay a visit to family and friends in Tehran during the Thanksgiving holidays. I was fortunate because the circumstances came together and made this possible. So, the moment I arrived in Frankfurt earlier this week, I went to a ticketing agent and purchased a ticket to Tehran. Only 370 Euros from Frankfurt to Tehran on a flight that takes only 4.5 hours. (I paid about that much in the summer of 2004 for a train trip from Frankfurt to London and back.)

In contrast to its hot summers, Tehran is quite cool in November. I arrived at midnight and took a taxi from the airport to my parents, a very smooth ride on the freeways that connect the different parts of the city. My parents were waiting, and after a short nap, I went out to buy sangak bread freshly made in the neighborhood. There had been snow in higher elevations in the city, and as I walked back to have breakfast with my parents, I could see the magnificent mountains to the north covered in a white blanket.

Unfortunately, I was only there for a few days and had no time for mountaineering, an activity everyone who visits Tehran should accommodate in their travel schedule. Instead, I spent most of my time visiting family and friends, includling my good friend and prominent painter Bobak Etminani, who also took me to a birthday party where I met a group of Berkeley (California) friends after more than a decade. We had lots of lively conversations at the party and afterwards, and I had a good chance to touch base with Bobak about the recent turn in his work.

Please stay tuned. I will try to include some images of Bobakäs recent paintings in a blog entry after I return to the States. I will also post some photos on my flickr album.

I should probably end this short diversion by saying that I don't make it a habit to leave my wife and children behind in the U.S. during Thanksgiving holidays. Really, my absence this year was not that bad. Back in California, my family have had very good visiting campany, including many friends and a grand-mother, and they were invited to a very large, extended-family Thanksgiving dinner at my wife's uncle.

Sunday Nov 12, 2006

Koppel on Social Change

People in their 30s and 40s may still remember Ted Koppel from "the hostage crisis." He made a career out of reporting it. Now, for the Discovery Channel, he has filed a new video documentary on Iran, speaking to a number of individuals and opinion makers. While still rooted in the common biases of the Western and American discourse on Iran, it provides a platform for a potentially better understanding of the immense transformations that have followed the Islamic Revolution of 1979 by virtue of interviews conducted with a relatively broad range of Iranians. (Most of those interviewed, either appear to know little about those biases or, out of sheer politeness, let Koppel get away with them. A good training in journalism would make it clear to anyone that every question can come loaded with assumptions. However, one needs a good sense and training as a politician to respond or to unload and disclose the assumptions.)
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