Boston Travel By Kashif Ali

I wanted to visit United States of America ever since but could not for one reason or the other, and now here I am in Boston USA. I was quite scared before leaving home as heard many stories of mistreatment en-route and on US airports. But to my surprise it turned out to be a pleasant experience. I was asked few extra questions at Heathrow before boarding, and this is it. Some passengers were subjected to extra searches (I guess at random) as most were white Americans & included young, old, men & women. The queues were long at immigration after landing at Logan Boston. However officers dealt with everyone quickly. Fingerprints & photos were taken of every non-US citizen but there was no extra questioning.

Boston Massachusetts Boston Massachusetts 

As I came out, I was approached by a Moroccan shared-van driver (there are shared-vans at airport that take you to destination at slightly cheaper price than taxis). I shared this van with two people from Saudi. Environment turned to be quite izlamik inside. They spoke to each other in Arabic. I asked the Moroccan driver how he feels living in US after Sept 11? He seemed satisfied, saying life goes on as usual for Muslims here. It gets disturbed when any incident occurs. Generally American people don’t bother with you but are a cautious now than before.

Weather is sweltering hot now days, temperature is 35c plus, just like April in Pakistan. It is difficult to walk in the sun. No wonder Americans are literally out of clothes, well almost!  

I’m staying in a small town Tewksbury, just outside Boston. USA is a huge country (2 & half times bigger than whole European Union). People are heavily reliant on cars for mobility (US is the largest carbon dioxide emitter from fuel). I wanted to use public transport but it is not possible because nearest train station is about 10 miles and taxi is expensive, so I have to rent a car! Driving is on the right side; let’s see how I perform, or how others view it, more precisely (will update you in next post). Public transport is not well developed here because there are too few people living too far apart. I wonder what happen when we run out of fuel?

Outside Hotel in Tewksbury Outside Hotel in Tewksbury 

I was watching TV & noticed that times are shown as 8/7c. I was baffled what it means. Then I realized that it meant 8 o’clock Eastern Time and 7 o’clock Central time. USA is divided into 4 time zones namely Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific, each one an hour later from previous.

USA broke off from Britain, its mother country in 1776. It had 13 states originally, more states were added later through war or acquisition. It is the 3rd biggest country area-wise (9.60 million Sq KM) & also population-wise (310 million). Interestingly US’s biggest neighbour Canada is of same size (10.00 million Sq KM) but has 10 times less population (33 million). US has 50 states now, 48 are connected, Hawaii consists of islands, and Alaska is situated 1000’s miles away near Russia (after crossing Canada). US is such a huge country that it has all type of terrain from hills to lands and lakes. Climate varies from state to state so does rules, traditions and behaviour.

Street in Poor Neighbourhood Street in Poor Neighbourhood 

Ethnic groups are as, white 80%, black 13%, Asian 5% (includes Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, etc), and natives 1%. Out of all these 15% are Hispanic origin (means persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, etc). In terms of religion, Protestant are 51%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 1.7%, Jews 1.7%, and Muslims 0.6%.

Culture, habits, living, regulations, religion are similar to or originated from British since their forefathers came from UK. Though whites, referred to as Caucasians come not only from England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland but also from Germany, France & Italy.

USA has borders with only two countries Canada (in north) & Mexico (in south). Two other borders are with North Atlantic Ocean (called East Coast) & North Pacific Ocean (called West Coast).

Suburban House Suburban House 

People are very friendly & open, much more than Europeans. They would greet you and chat with as you walk around. It is common to say “You are ya Duu-aan” (how are you doing) on meeting. Old English used to say “how do you do” on meeting if you remember. I guess it originated from there.

Suburban houses are huge with many rooms and garage. There is a big lawn all around the house.

You will find all types of restaurants here & I visited many of these (photos in separate blog). Service is very friendly & informal. Waiter will ask you at your table how you found the food and chat with you, it is almost non-existent in Europe. And why shouldn’t they? 15% tip is compulsory! Food portions are huge. Price is a bit cheaper compared to Europe.

Numbers are commonly used in the names of streets, roads, shops and restaurants, for example Yummy36, Motel6, 88Chinese Chowmien, Route 54, 7th St East.  It helps sometimes as you would know how far 7th St is if you are standing on 5th St.

Knight Rider Knight Rider 

I visisted a classic cars show where people had brought all sorts of fancy old cars. This guy was so much into Knigh Rider that he had trsnformed his car exctly like it.

Next I’m going to White House, Capitol Hill. Wait for the Story & Pictures.

 Visit Kashif Ali’s Blog

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A Weekend @ “Pattaya Beach” in Bangkok

by Mary M.

On 13th March 2010, me and my husband planned to hangout to a famous but crowded beach of Thailand called the “Pattaya Beach”. It is about 2hours 30min drive from the Bangkok city by bus. Taxi usually takes one and a half hour. We bought Ekamai-Pattaya tickets from ROONG REUANG COACH CO, LTD (02) 712-3928, rrc_bus@hotmail.com, for 113THB (Thai Baht) per head. Our bus began to move at 9:50 am and so we started our journey by the Name of Allah.. I was sleepy so I had slept all the way as the bus was on highway and the journey was smooth. I woke up when the bus entered into the busy roads of Pattaya city. The city looked busy, full of hustle and bustle. We reached the bus stop at about 1:00pm when the sun rays were at its peak but thanks to our sunglasses and hats which kept us protected to some extent.

Main Pattaya Beach

Pattaya city was a completely new place for us to visit besides we didn’t even know Thai language except for the greetings like Swade Kaa(welcome) and Kapun Kaaa(thank you). My husband went to a nearby tourist guide office to get some information but came out with a few brochures and maps because the tourist office were trading their offers for very high price thinking us to be aliens in Pattaya city. But anyhow we managed to sit in a Taxi called the “TUK TUK” in local language for about 30THB per head. Our booking was already done in a famous hotel of Pattaya called the “All seasons Hotel” 425/9 MOO.9 Pattaya 2nd road, central Pattaya chonburi Thailand 20150. Tel: +66(0)38418888, http://www.accorhotels.com/6525. The Tuk Tuk dropped us in our hotel which looked rather busier then we expected. A lot of Indians and Chinese families were checking in and out. The interior of the hotel looked cozy and innovative. We checked in and went into our room. The view was great from the room. One could easily see the beach view, the sailing boats and sea sports. Watching all this, our patience could not be restrained any more for touching the sand of the beach but still we tried spending a few more hours inside the room waiting for the scorching sun to go down so that we could go to the beach which was just 15min by walk from our hotel. After the sun went a little down at about 4:30pm we took our way to the Pattaya beach. Crossing some lanes we reached our destination. This place was over crowded. The road adjacent to the beach is always jam packed with Tuk Tuk’s and local cars with a lot of Bikini and small accessories shop in a row. Beach view is good but, beware! not to leave your eatables beside you while enjoying the sand and water coz there are a lot of stray dogs wandering around in search of something to eat. My husband was interested in parasailing (water parachute sport) so we went on asking different people about the prices and procedure.. There were many water sports going around too which caught the sight of many people gathered around the beach. It was getting cooler and darker at the beach as the sun was setting. We relaxed at the beach side with some drinks and ice creams and took a few memorable snaps.

It was getting darker now so we decided to move on and discover restaurants and shops along the beach side. I found that the prices of clothes and accessories were 40times less than that in Bangkok. We moved on and then decided to go to Pattaya’s famous street called the “Pattaya’s Walking Street” where you could see the oozing nightlife of this city all accumulated on along the walking street full of restaurants, bars and night clubs. We took a Tuk Tuk from the beach for 10THB per head and reached this street in 25min. It was night but this street was galvanizing with high voltage lights and it seemed as if it’s almost day time. The view was amazing. We walked along the street where one could find people from all around the world gathered for every sort of entertainment and enjoyment. Some local agile kids were showing their gymnastic feats just in the middle of the street which attracted many people’s attention and money. Moving along the street we tried to find Halal food restaurants there were many, and after long search we chose an Irani restaurant. This resturant had a live Irani songs show and the dinner we had there is one of the memorable dinners in my life. After the dinner we took our way to our hotel as it was already too late and the day next we had planned for water sports and going to a famous Island named “The Tonglang Island ” beach of the KOHLAN ISLAND which is about 25min journey by Ferry from the Pattaya beach.

Next day our journey to “The Tonglang Island” by ferry was again one of the memorable moments of our life. My first time experiencing the ferry boat was fascinating. The big waves in the sea hit the ferry and sprinkles of salty water came on us like showers of cool rain. As we reached the island it was full of tourists but the sea water was crystal clear a lot better than that at the Pattaya beach. The sight of the island was breathtaking with green mountains all around and aqua water in the middle one that I had always dreamt off or watched in movies or TV. But now it was in front of me and it was just as if a dream has come true. And as the famous poem of the John Keats ” A thing of beauty is a Joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness…” we also stuffed all the memories of this great journey in our eyes and got back to Bangkok the same night.

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Vienna, Austria by Kashif Ali

I went to Austria few days ago (May 2010). It is a beautiful European Union member country in Central Eastern Europe bordering 8 countries. Its official language is German and currency is Euro. Living standards are very high that can easily be compared to Western Europe.

 Total population is about 8.2 million, out of which 2.2 million (27%) lives in Vienna, their capital city. About 75% people are Catholic, 4.7% Protestants & 4.2% are Muslims (many from Turkey).

 My flight was late in the evening. All hotels in Vienna were fully booked so I was staying in the company hostel. I enquired about directions to the address at airport and took train to city centre followed by metro. As I came out of the final station and looked for the place, I made the shocking discovery that I was at the wrong place. Oh no, it was cold, dark and raining, and I had my luggage in my hands. Luckily there was a taxi nearby which I hired straight away. Continue Reading

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Smoke That Thunders (Zambia) by Usman Rattu

This time during traveling, I was not sure whether, I will arrive to my destination or not! My landing visa letter was full of mistakes: born in Pakistan, Living in Malaysia, Nationality is Chinese and unmatched Passport number: all together enough to make me suspicious. This was what happened at Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok boarding counters. Surprisingly all was well at immigration of Zambia. May it was because of my help as Chinese to English interpreter to Zambian immigration during their handling to Chinese passengers.

I was landing in one of the world’s least densely populated land where population is only 14 persons per square km. This could be the reason Zambia is one of the wildlife richest country. With 19 national parks and 34 game management areas, Zambia is having abundant animal population. Counted 27 birds types just in my home garden made me believe that 723 the recorded bird types while rest of the animal just make a WILD guess!  Curiously looking down from airplane’s window, instead of lions, leopards, tigers, zarf and zebras I found circular fields before touching the Lusaka. This was new to me, as to date I have seen the rectangular fields not the circular one. Later, on ground, I realized that these circular fields are the result of Center Pivot Sprinkler Irrigation System.

To be excited from the natural life of Zambia, during search for some safari villa residence, where several animals playing around the grounds as well as several breeds of antelopes and birds, one should reed following news twice and then decide! “A monkey urinated on Zambian President Rupiah Banda as he spoke to assembled journalists at a press conference this week. Banda shouted: “You have urinated on my jacket,” and paused as he looked up to see the animal playing in a tree just above his chair…………..

Kenneth Kaundaold called KK, is the founder of Zambia and first Zambia president back in 1964. After visiting KK’s old residence, I asked driver to take me KK’s tomb so that I can pay my tribute to him. He said, “You have to wait because KK is still alive…….”

Before entering Safari, remember an animal is having vision 10 times, hearing is 10 times and temper is also 10 times to you so don’t try to make fool any animal (unlike make fool your friends, “human”). If you will face any just stay, calm and don’t move. If you will be lucky then you will be saved otherwise……….

While stepping in Lusaka (capital of Zambia), I was scared by the talk of passenger who was sitting beside me. Entire way to Lusaka, he was wearing sleeveless shirt with shorts. Before landing at Lusaka, he wore full shirt, long trouser with tie on it in a hot sunny day. I asked; is some reason behind this dressing?

He: Just protection

I: Protection! What you mean?

He: You know in Africa beside mosquitoes there are many dangerous insects. Therefore, I wear full cloths for protection.

I: Yes, but still tie with long cloths!

He: Tie, I wore because I don’t want to allow any insect to enter via my shirt. You don’t know, here the insects are very dangerous.

I: Yes, I heard of malaria and such diseases

He: Be careful during your stay, you know here there is one kind of fly. If that will bite you then you could loose you fertility and can’t have baby for two years. Never dry your cloths outside, as some insects eggs are harmful and could cause for itching. 

Though these things were scary especially I even didn’t get my vaccination before coming to Africa. Later, I could not find any proof and realized such stories are not more than gossips but be careful from snakes and other reptile, which are using the same path. On your way, if you found mangos on trees, don’t try to get them. You may get these mangos without any money but along mangos you may carry the eggs of Mango Fly. These eggs could enter in body via skin which later could cause swear pain and trouble. 

Though, I did not come across to any insect but for sure I became one of the millionaire like many other Zambians are, by converting my USD in local Kwacha (1USD= K4650). Things are comparatively expansive. I spent K2,100,000.00 (460USD) only for my visa fee, others you can just calculate.

Called Lusaka is as peaceful as other parts of Zambia. People are friendly. The living standards are like other developing countries, i.e. some rich and many poor. Despite having world’s largest copper deposits, starving is common; mostly people survive on one meal daily. Diseases are common, and major cause is lacking of notorious food. Around 25% of aids penetration with 35 years average age sounds sad, but still the people are warm to shake hands. Know or not! greetings are must to meet with anybody. So if I want to ask, where is toilet! I have to ask: 

I: Hello

Mr. ABC: Hello

I: How are you?

Mr. ABC: I am fine and you

I: Me too fine

Mr. ABC: Great

May I know, where is the toilet…….

Just imagine if one is about to relive, what this conversation can cause! So better, start looking toilet before you really need it.

Every developing country is having mobile hawkers, but what about mobile minimarket, from electronic gage gates, house holds, paintings, vegetables, fruits, cloths….. all range of products are available in “drive away” shopping. Also, I never come across such a perfect business strategy, which Zambian hawkers have adopted. Early morning: it is time to sell recharge cards (your mobile money may run out during night calls), newspapers etc. During afternoon, it is time to sell fruits, sunglasses, caps, drinking liquids etc. On the way back home (evening), it is time to sell toys, vegetables, turkey etc. If there is rain, umbrella is also available to buy. They change products timely in accordance to the purchaser’s requirement.

Interesting and funny advertisements are common:

“A roof without ABC.co is like a baby without nappies”. “Friendship Surgery”. “Darling furniture”. “Graduate with A’s, not aids, get a positive unza degree, not a positive HIV, certificate! Zambia needs your brains. “Cheap computer on sale”. Even you can meet with, Dr. Exhaust who is specialized in, Exhaust System, panel beating, welding & metal fabrication etc.

Normally, pavements are beside a road, while here roads beside pavement. I loved to walk on pavement, in the middle of road under thick red flower trees. Never mind, if you see footbridge on a crossing, despite crossing is having traffic signals and zebra crossing for the pedestrians. Where you really need footbridge, you have to cross that busy road at your own risk. Before railway-road crossing, one must look right and left as there is nothing called protection gate. Train will just whistle to keep passers alert, now it is their will to safe their life or take risk. Never think this risk is dangerous as trains run…… I don’t think so, because train moves with speed of less than 10km/hr. If you have really nothing to do or you want to finish some boring book, just buy ticket and sit in train. Along intercity buses, one can also try post buses. These buses are actually for the post office carrier, but it can carry passengers too if there will be space left. A fully automated state of the art bus which was designed for the high ways was stopped and toed back from the half way because it’s computer system did not accept the road as highway, it was too narrow for her.  

Perplex names may make you uneasy sometime. “He is jealous” don’t be arrogant indeed he is “Mr. Jealous”. As I ask my colleague, let us do this job. He replied, “We should wait for Monday!” Come on, today is Thursday and let us finish it before Friday. Of course (my colleague replied) but we must involve Monday in this assignment. Then, I realized it is Mr. Monday. Even in a dark night, one have to call “Bright” and don’t hesitate to call Wireless, Engine or Handbrake if you met with them. “Send Chuma” does not mean you have to make kiss like in Urdu/Hindi.

In general fashion tempts young and especially women. Coming to hair industry it is at peek in Zambia. 99% of women are having artificial hairs tide with original hairs. Some women spend more on their hair making than food. Not only to women, even four year girls are having wigs. And for sure, little dark girls in white dress with colored hair bands, looks angels. 

Among 85% of Christens still Mosque and Hindu temples (Mandir) could be found in Lusaka. Defiantly it is unusual to see Mandir and Mosques are head-to-head placed. I mean, during Muslim prayers they face towards Mandir and once Hindu pray they face towards mosque. That is how, both religions are “bound” to respect each other. Muslim & Christian’s graves located in same graveyard with common boundary walls. So don’t wonder if you will hear “Azan” ringtone from a non Muslim’s mobile.

If you born in Zambia you may be given your late uncle name or your grandfather; as most communities do believe in life after death. Naming ceremonies are conducted after consultations with ancestral spirits supposedly living in shrine. These shrines form link points between the deceased and the living.

After your childhood age; be ready for initiation rites. If you are a boy then you will be circumcised followed by learn matter related to manhood. If you are a girl, you have abounded in home till the senior women teach you everything about adultery. You have to come out from the place with decorated naked body, beads nickels and visit to certain place along singing and dancing companions.

After initiation procedure now you are ready to merry. If you are groom pay your mother-in-law in appreciation for giving birth to your bride. Incase of bride, these days you need to attend kitchen party where only women are allowed to take part. Men are strictly kept away from kitchen parties but for sure food does not require any gender classification. You may have chance to taste Chikanda, Chunkubala (caterpillar), Chibwabwa (green pumpkin leaves), Musalu (rape), Isabi ilyauma (dry fish cooked in gravy), Isabi ilyakusalula (BBQ fish) along Shima/Ubwali (maize cooked in pulp form), Ifitumbuwa (African bun made of maize flour). 

For funeral and burial though customs in Zambia vary from village and city but everything ends to grave. Traditional customs combined with modern or urban modifications makes the funeral unique in Zambia. Name of dead is announced with somber organ music. To attend funeral, you have to wear old cloths and could cry kukhuza

mayi –baba-beeee!

mayi –baba-beeee!

If you are a woman then learn Chitengelo/Kudinginyika

Ye-e—e-e-e-egh!

Ye-e—e-e-e-egh!

Ye-e—e-e-e-egh!

This high-pitched cry can often be heard within a three miles radius, in rural villages. Children are always present during the funeral as they play the crucial roles of running errands (food/drinks etc) for all mourners known as Kutumikila. The meal is served after collection; bear is also served (greatJ). Now it’s time to lay body in grave, males burry facing East that at sun break they would always leave to hunt for fund while females burry facing west as at sunset they would attend to kitchen. Don’t worry about yourself, now the burial is gender free as this custom is outdated now but still, all the mourners are supposed to wash off their feet all the red or yellow dirt from the grave site.

Well during your lifecycle in Zambia never forget to visit one of the 7 world’s natural wonders. 1.7km stretched 110meters high a pure white curtain formed by 750,000,000 liters/min flow (at peak) can stun to anyone, a simply breath taking experience to see “Mosi-oa-Tunya (Smoke That Thunders)” now called Victoria Falls. This is the place where rainbow completes circle, and dual rainbows play hide and seek with clean water of Zambzi river. Here you find the way to “boiling point”, don’t expect warm/hot water there, it is actually starting point of Zambzi rift valley. Over this a bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia where monkeys often wait to snatch food and belongings from the pedestrians and scared everyone ultimately good measure to stop illegal immigration.

Forgot to tell about house in village, a typical family house all rooms are separated and round in shape. The biggest one is for the family’s head, smallest one would be kitchen and the lifted one is to store food (lift provide protection from animals). In general men eat together in one place, women cook and bring food there while women eat as per their own.

This time I have to say good bye to the land where human life traced back by 200,000 years, where footprints of stone & iron ages could be seen, slave tree reminds the pain from thousands of people’s sighs included a sigh, of Germen commander who surrendered his army to end World War II in Rhodesia (Zambia). I also want to surrender my life to three simultaneously colored (navy-blue, blue and light blue) sky, dark nights with brighten stars, steady pleasant weather, lush green fields, sweet water lakes, white curtain falls, harmonious wild life, but I have to move. For sure Zambia’s memories will be smoked that will thunder anytime.

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Nairobi, Kenya By Usman Rattu

Safari Land

It is not KAYA (sacred forests) where you have to remove your headwear, promise not to kiss anyone inside the grove, wrap a black kaniki (sarong) around your waste, and ensure not to cut any vegetation. It is Nairobi where you are going to walk, where you have to make sure that you will not move with valuable, not come out after sunset, not wonder in streets alone etc because Nairobi is also called Nai-Robbery. I myself was encountered with snatcher during my single day visit. Welcome to the world safari capital, and observe Masi Mara; one of the largest animal migration. The land filled with wild life, one will feel it, even before arriving in Kenya. In airplane Lion, Giraffe, Zebra, Elephant and Hippo printed sashes and food rappers, followed by landing visa on your passport will paint a big wild life picture of Kenya before stepping in Nairobi. .

Driving to anywhere, you have to face bumper to bumper traffic packed roads with all stunner drivers. It is not cars or mini vans to be afraid on road, you should be more careful from the traffic Police since it is efficient to get out money out of your pocket. On road, not only need to care yourself, also take care of all passengers in your car as I was driving with my two friends in car. My both friends were smoking that time. Police stopped us.

Police: Show me your license and car’s documents

I presented all the documents. Police could not find any excuse to fine me.

Police: Oh these two people inside car are smoking and offending you! We will fine them

I: I am not offended as me too a smoker.

Police: Well they did not offend you but they are offending us since they are smoking in front of us. They should be fined

I: OK, go ahead you can fine them

Police: They have to go to police station and wait for the magistrate for fine.

I: Ok no problem

Police: (sitting inside and ask) Move. So you are serious to leave them in police station

I: Yes, no other way

I: No problem

Police: Don’t you feel loneliness when you will return from police station

I moved my car and then police started warn us, do you know today is Friday and your friends have to wait till Monday in police station before they will present to the court. They have to spend three nights in jail

I: No problem

Police: How you can sleep in a room, while your friends will be battling with mosquitoes

I: Then what I could do?

Police: Instead of attending court and give fine, why not give some money for my food and let everything finish.

At the signpost for the equator, it is easy to be impressed by professor of “Coriolis Forces” who already told you: at the center of equator the water drains straight, moving towards north the water drains clockwise and moving towards west the water drains anticlockwise because of Coriolis forces. In 1835 this phenomenon is described by Gaspard Gustave and based on Newton’s second law of motion. You are lucky to see it’s demonstration as you are standing on equator. Later, you will find yourself goof once you will realize that, the scientists say the Coriolis forces does not actually cause water to drain in the manner which you observed in Kenya. And it was completely bogus demonstration, just a trick of the “professor” who sold you some souvenirs later in his courier shop.

In general helping attitude of people keeps you on track, since some time the helper starts traveling with you and ensures you have seen the destination. Along your companion, you will be often encountered with wild life, colored butterflies will accompany you all your way. On the way back from Nairobi; I experience a very humble and kind attitude from a Japanese mom in plane, who made origami dolls/birds/flowers during flight and present to me in reply of little help to her.

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Shanghai

 
Oriental Pearl Tower
 
شنگھائی میں کیا دیکھنے والا ہے؟
انہوں نے پوچھا !
میں نے تھوڑا سوچا اور جواب دیا …شنگھائی میں شنگھائی دیکھنے والا ہے . یہ بات صحیح  ہے، شنگھائی آبادی کے لحاظ سے دنیا کا سب سے  بڑاشہر ہے جہاں ہر دن عید اور رات شب برات ہے. ویسے تو بہت سی جگہیں دیکھنی والی ہیں مگر سب سے زیادہ مشہور نانجنگ روڈ ہے .
    
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Tehran by Kashif Ali

I visited Tehran, the capital of Islamic republic of Iran for few days in September 2009. It was an exciting experience. It is an official Shia state. It is evident from the billboards showing slogans about Ali RA, Fatima RA & family. Talking about billboards, there were very few of them and none had any woman on them. Before coming to Iran I had the impression that it is a deeply religious society. The image is shattered now after spending few days here. Most people seem to be uninterested in Islam. Respect for Ramzan (month of fasting) wasn’t there. Many people were eating in public. Restaurants were closed during day but fast food type places were selling food almost openly right in the middle of city.
 
 There are only few mosques in Tehran city. You don’t hear azaan, it is probably banned on speaker. I was looking for masjid for jumma prayer and ended up in Valli Asar maidaan, the town centre. The masjd there was locked. But I saw many people going in one direction, mostly in traditional shia black dress. There were extra ordinary security arrangements with police, fire brigade, ambulances present. It can not be an ordinary jumma prayer, I thought. So I didn’t dare going any close. Next day I found out through media that it was the supreme leader Kohmenei addressing in juma prayer at Tehran University campus with the whole government present including Ahmede Nejad.
 
Youth is quite modernized. Boys fashion like west. All girls wear jeans with a tight coat on top, & a symbolic scarf at the back of head, hair dyed in Golden. Islam appears to be enforced by authorities. Society seem superficial, a bit similar to Pakistan. Actually there are a lot of similarities with Pakistan, for example, laungaue (40% similar) food (kebabs, roti, chai, sweets, etc), living and the habits (I mean the bad ones at least!).
 
Besides, people are polite & good looking, especially women. Very few could speak English, and that was broken too. Young like to talk to foreigners. Not me though because they considered my Irani. When I said I am not, they said oh Indian! No I am Pakistani I would notify. Continue reading

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