Doha was really boring. Most people just fall asleep on the seats and was fine. I don’t think there are a lot of thief in this airport, but my computer is the most expensive part of my life, and the informations, including this website are unnameable worthy for me. Therefore I couldn’t sleep while I was alone on the airport. I blogged a bit, edited podcastepisodes, videocasts and made Videophonecalls to Germany (the free internet is the best in this airport, by fare. The food is really not worth spending the high prices, but in an 15 hour stay, you need to eat a bit. I would recommend everybody, if possible to sleep somewhere on such a long stay. I was absolutely dead in the plane. I put on my sunglasses, that the people don’t saw my sleepy read eyes and stumbled my way down to the bus and up to the plain. The plane to Iran was half empty. Next to me sat a Japanese business men. It seems, that I meet Japanese people everywhere on my wired trip to Japan. I thought about chatting with him in the view phrases I knew, but then I felt asleep. A bit after was my off phone ringing. The alarm clock should reminded me, to go on board the plane, but after shifting my flight twice, I was already sleeping in the plane when it disturbed the hole plane. Because I was sleepy, I set it just on snooth. 15 minutes later I woke up again and was for sure the most disliked person on the plane. I stopped the alarm, moved a bit to let my neighbor change the row and then fall asleep again before I noticed any angry faces around me.
I missed the start and the landing of the plane. This was fine. It was the first time I had no trouble with my ears from the pressure. The stewardess woke me up with a kind tip on the shoulder “Sir.” For some reason Qatar Airlines has only Chinese personal. Maybe a Indian girl in between. Very pleasant to look at. Another good reason for this airline. Oh, by the way, the other good point it the food. I woke up when the came along with the meals. My body has a fine working system completely separated from my consciousness. If I need food it wakes me up. I had a nice chicken and a lot of water in this hot plane and fall asleep right after the meal again to miss the landing.
Still sleepy I stumbled through small corridors in the Iran Airport. I still wore my glasses and there was nearly a bit sun, when I left the plane. I lined up in the row for “Iran citizen” because the office for foreigners was not opened. The most part of the personal sat in a corner watching a football game. The officer told me, that I have to go to another line to get my Visa first. So I stumbled to the other office for Visa. I applied online for a Visa, but the online counter was closed. So I lined up behind two complaining businessmen from an Arab country and waited. Down the hallway was some young soldiers trying to do a salto. They felt on their back and laughed. The businessman complained loudly about the bad service. I couldn’t understand, but I guess from their angry faces. The three people behind the counter sat on living room style chairs and watched the football game. There must be an important one going on in today in the national league. From time to time one of them looked back to the business men and shook his shoulders. Most of the time they ignored us. I just stand in the line and waited until finally one of them spoke to the businessmen, gave them a paper and they moved – still loudly swearing. I asked for my Visa, and was then send to the next counter, which was free all the time to pay the money first. Now that he pointed to it, I could see the english letters. I walked to that counter and found out, that my bank was wrong. Because I couldn’t get Rial (Iran currency) in Germany, I was told, that I need to bring along Dollar. But they wanted to have Euro. I spent nearly all my Euros in Doha, to get three coffee and a sandwich which looked like paper and tasted like it. Then I was told I could pay in Dollar. For some reason it is more expansive to pay in Dollar. The wanted to have $70 from me. My bank in Germany gave me $65 for €50, and the current trade is $63 for €50. So I searched for my last Euro coins to fix the missing $5. I was just happy that worked. Back in line – the adventures of bureaucracy or “bureaucrazy” – I waited a moment until someone left the football game to give me my visa, I applied three month before – you should do it a minimum of two month before for Iran.
I was told, that I have to fill out a form first and he pointed to a counter behind me. I was just to tired to complain about that or to get angry. I had no energy left for such a senseless fight. Maybe that was good. So I filled out the form came back with all papers and zag zag, I had a new Visa in my collection. So back to the entrance, where I was the only left passenger. So no line to cue up, but also no open counter. The people was sitting with the TV in a corner. Uuuhh.
I was told to wait. In the meantime, my body told me he felt ill with so much coffee and so less sleep. I asked for the way to the toilets and found it. Then the next bad thing hit me: Squad toilets! Let me say it in a more clear way: Shit-holes in the ground. Aargh. I was not prepared for that. I thought I could spare the squad toilets until China and Korea, and was thinking about eating nothing for two weeks to have nice long session in Hiroshima airport, but then it hit me here like a hammer. I never asked my friend about the toilets. Dam. It was moist in the hot airport, it smelled strange and the hole toilet was wet like a shower. I never used such a thing and had not really a clue about how to stay clean while doing my business on this, this… hole. Nearby was a something that looked like a half finished shower, and it seemed, that the last user had a proper shower in this cabin. While I thought how to prevent it, I checked the other cabin and – WONDER OH WONDER: a wonderful European style toilet. Thanks to all the gods out there, that send blessings to travelers like me. I felt like Al Bundy. Uuuuuuuuuuuuh!
A good while later I came back refreshed and the football game was over and a policemen stand at the counter and I could enter Iran – nearly. A man came in the middle of my Visa check and brought from somewhere a stewardess along that urgently needed to get a check up and enter the country. The policemen behind the counter was as unpleased as me, but he logged out and checked her in first. I wondered about nothing any more. I was now really the last person in the airport beside bored people behind the counter and the cleaning personal. I found my luggage at the lost and found office and stumbled through the empty airport. Someone banged next to me on a glass wall. I didn’t new him, but it must been a AIESECer form the Teheran office to pick me up. After an absolute senseless checkup, where just my luggage was scanned – no one watched the monitor -, but not me, I walked out the airport. I was honored, that the MCP Iran elect in person picked me up and pushed me in the next Taxi. To entangle this AIESEC-language: MCP mean Member Committee President and is the highest position in an country branch of AIESEC. AIESEC has about 23,000 students in a bit more then 100 countries, and he was boss of the newest office. Since last year Iran is a full grown branch of AIESEC. I wore this day still the T-shirt with the print: “AIESEC extension project IRAN”. Elect means just, that my friend “Ali-Raiser”, the first MCP of Iran, was still in his term. The official change is then in the middle of march. It works like the US president system. This position is, by the way, a paid job and therefore really serious and not just a social commitment for a student.
It was a long drive from the Airport to the city. It was already dark and didn’t noticed a lot. I had just a conversation with the MCP elect and took some notes about helpful phrases to get along in Farsi, the Persian or Iran language. I will give you a few at the end of this entry.
In the university for Entrepreneur bachelor and master, I found the office of AIESEC Iran. At the same time it was the office of the Local Committee Teheran – which is the only LC at the moment – and at the same time half of the office was shared with the university PR management. Anyway it was a nice office with a lot of desks and computers and wonderful wireless internet. After I hugged “Ali-Raiser” – it’s his nickname from his time in Hamburg, when he was hosted by me and did an internship in our AIESEC office to learn about the work of AIESEC – I was introduced to the hole office and had a bit time to settle and work on my blog. I was just to tired to do a lot.
The AIESEC coordinator for the start of AIESEC Iran in the office was a Hong-Kong Chinese Girl from AIESEC Canada, named Rainbow. Coincidence, Coincidence, my contact in Hong Kong is a girl named Rainbow, I matched to an internship in Hamburg. The world is somehow strange.
The worst part of the trip was over. I walked with all my luggage through the streets of Teheran. It was cold, windy and it started to rain a bit. Wonderful. I felt like back home in Hamburg. No kidding, it was like coming home. Friends, weather I am used to and blocks of concrete in the night, was like home to me. Could have been Hamburg – away from the steep roads at the north side of Teheran. I case you don’t know: Iran is not a dune-sea of desert with sand. The very most part is quite different from that, even if they have a lot of desert and wasteland. Teheran lies in the subterranean north of Iran in the middle of the mountains. Speaking of mountains – you can go skiing around Tehran. The city it self is hugh, big, wast, endless. A real monster city of 13 million inhabitants. The biggest German city Berlin has just 3.5 million and the second biggest city Hamburg has just 1.72 million people. All four Over-a-million-cities in Germany has just about two thirds of the inhabitants of this city! It is just hugh, o.k.! The biggest thing, I ever was walking in. At the moment I could just see a few streets until the next corner, and I was to sleepy to get, that I was in one of the biggest countries of the Muslim cultures by far. A lot of the desert countries in the middle east has in hole, just enough inhabitants to fill two or three big cities. Iran has 68 million people and is beside Egypt and Indonesia the biggest Muslim country. Oh, by the way, I know a bit about this country, because I was related to a persian girl.
My first stop after walking around in the city and place my stuff in the flat of Ali-Raisers parents – it is quite common to stay with the parents a long time in Iran and especially in expensive Teheran – was a Kebab restaurant. I was told that Kebab is THE food of Persia. So I had to go for. I took of my shoes, washed my hands, sat down on a carpet with my friends around me and ate a wonderful dinner with my hands. Kebab from a lamb, rice with saffron, and a yoghurt drink at the side. This was then worth all the trouble of this day. I was just fine.
I was brought to the flat of a women from AIESEC. She prepared a guest room for me. It was a bit sad, because she wanted to talk to me with her friends, but I was so absolutely tired, that I strait went to my room, plugged in my batteries for reload and fall down on the bed to sleep. I not even used the bedcover, I just fall down on this big double bed and spread all my limps in different directions and was in the land of dreams.
Survival phrases in Farsi:
Salam – Hello
Choda Fes – Good bye
Are – Yes
Na – No
Es me man … est. – My name is … .
Man as (alman) hastm – I am from (Germany).
Bebakhshid – Excuse me (very helpful if you ask for directions)
Merci – Thank you
Chetori? – How are you?
Khub – Good or I am fine
Khub nista – Not so good or bad
Kahesh mikonam – Please
Lotfan (Arab) – Please
Balor – Name extension for a man you like as a friend – for example Georg balor.
Man mikham beravm be in adress – I want to go to this address (extremely helpful to hand over a piece of paper to a taxi driver, with the address)
More fun stuff and swearing:
Gom sho! – Get lost!
Khafe sho! – Shut up!
Duset daram. – I love you.
Asalam – My honeypot (cute name for a girl/boy(friend))
Dshigaram – My liver (lovers nickname)
Read you later!