The sound of a load spring shower woke me up early Sunday morning before sunrise. I so badly wanted to open the window and watch the downpour but my muscles were not fully awake yet and the quick shower swiftly passed. I dozed off to sleep again when another downpour shower woke me up and once again by the time I gained control of my legs the storm had passed. For the rest of the day till mid-afternoon it continued to rain in the lower elevations, but at high above in the mountains it snowed and the high mountain peaks turned white.
The day before we visited two museums, The Carpet Museum of Iran and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts. In the carpet museum photography was allowed without the use of flash, but in the art museum no photography was allowed. When I was getting ready to take my first photo, a very polite young male staff member asked me if I had a photographer's card (kart'e akaassi). I told him no. He explained that photography was not allowed, and if I wanted to take pictures I should go to the Public Relations office and get one of those cards that are issued to photographers. I went downstairs to the PR office to find out what the rules were for taking pictures. A man in charge of the place explained to me that only photographers who work for print publications with a certain circulation number are allowed to take pictures. He asked me if I was a reporter. I told him no, but I wannabe a reporter. He said no, you have to be a reporter, and repeated what he had said about working for a print paper. I told him what about a website, I told him I want to post pictures for a website. He said no, that was not allowed. So, I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the beautiful paintings at the museum. It was explained to me, or it was my understanding, that the art pieces were from private collections and that's the way the arrangement was made with them. The exhibition was related to the battle of Karbala, and I don't care who has a beef with Karbala. I thought the paintings were beautiful.On top of that, most of the museum guides were knowledgeable females, and the visitors were also mostly females, which gives me more reason to believe a great number of Iranian women are becoming more educated, are joining the work force, and are interested in culture. At the end our visit I bought a CD containing Sohrab Sepehri's paintings.
In both of the museums we ran into some tourists from Germany who were stranded in Tehran because of flight cancellations due to volcanic ash in the air in Europe. They were all part of a group who had visited many of the Iranian cities in the last two weeks, including Ahvaz, Shoosh, Shiraz, and Yazd. Just listening to the list of the city names they had visited in two weeks made me tired. The information about flight cancellation came to me as a surprise since one of my other brothers is supposed to arrive here from Germany on Monday.I found out that his flight was also canceled.
On Sunday we went to visit the Niavaran Historical and Cultural Complex, which consisted of three palaces, Ahmad Shah Palace, Niavaran Palace, and Sahabghraniyeh Palace, and also a small art museum displaying paintings and sculpture pieces from Farah Pahlavi's collections. I particularly liked a lithographed piece by Andy Warhol of Mick Jagger. The rest of the stuff in the museums were the usual old junk stuff, toilets, old clothes, old desks, broken carriages, and things like that.
Going back from Niavaran to Tehran to join the rest of the family for a late lunch and then for dinner, I was taking pictures with my camera sticking out of the car window while we were traveling nn the freeway. Two bearded men on a motorcycle approached me while we were all traveling in the freeway. They were clean cut, clean really everything. They had nice white teeth, which I take as a sign of friendliness, since for the longest time I had crooked teeth, and I was an unfriendly person. So, I thought they were just curious about what I was doing.
They: What are doing?
Me: Taking pictures.
They: What are you taking pictures of?
Me: Whatever grabs my interest.
They: Why are taking the pictures?
Me: Because it makes me happy. Would you like me to take your picture?
They: No, don't take our picture. You are not supposed to take pictures.
Me: Not supposed to take pictures! Why? Is it illegal?
They: Yes, it is illegal to take pictures. Photography is not allowed.
Me: Is not allowed?
They: No. What are going to do with those pictures.
Me: You mean to tell me I can not take pictures?
They: No, you are not supposed to take pictures in the public. What are going to do with those pictures?
Me: No pictures in the public!
They: No, taking pictures in the public is not allowed. What are going to do with the pictures?
Then my dozari dropped that these people might cause me headaches, so I told them I didn't know I was not supposed to take pictures so I would stop. I thought they might have taken down our license plate number, and might have even called it in.
Late night after the dinner party at my niece's place, we were walking towards my brother's car when I noticed a few young men, in their twenties, approaching the alley with swords in their hands. A couple of them were bleeding from their faces, as if they had been beaten up by someone earlier. One of them had cuts on this eyebrow. They were mad and cursing at the mothers of some other people. Then some more young men arrived by motorcycles and they ghorogh' kardan (someone please translate this word into English) the alleyway. One of my nephews had come downstairs to send us off. I was worried about him. Sometimes when a person gets beaten up, he calls his friends to come and help him, and when they can't find the real culprit, they beat up someone else who has nothing to do with the problem to begin with. They do that just to say we beat them up. So I was worried about my nephew, and he was nonchalant about it. The best way I can describe this is that he is an airhead. I finally talked my older brother into walking with us and my nephew to take him back to the house. So I am walking, thinking my nephew and brother are right behind me till I get to the sword wielding Ninjas and I look back and he is behind me, and I am thinking, OK these guys can chop me off if they want, and that how some underage boys end up killing another person, and then they get the death sentence, and then us in the US try to save their lives. I know, I know, kids are stupid and they do stupid things sometimes, but from now on I review these cases more carefully before I help anyone. Fortunately, they let my nephew go to the house without any bloodshed. People should focus on priorities before picking up swords.
My little brother tells me not to worry about the two guys on the motorcycle. He says taking pictures in public is perfectly legal. He says nowadays it's nothing like it used to be with people sticking their noses in your business. He says the motorcyclists were not tied with police or security apparatus. He says all those whose work in related to
police work are supposed to properly identify themselves. And I am thinking, yeah! Really!
Thank you in advance for any comments you may leave here. I will not be able to reply at this time, but I will read them.
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