Diary from my travels: Iranians – My first impressions



Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 20/05/2024, 18:30

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

I’m writing this during my second day in Iran. I just want to compare my impressions later.

I read so much about Iranian hospitality, openness and friendliness, so as soon I stepped on the Iranian soil I thought that every person I meet will invite me for a tea and a chat.

That’s how it was with Thailand. The Land of Smiles, they said. And my first impressions of Thai people was that a man shouted at me because I put my backpack in a wrong place.

Stereotypes are stereotypes and life is life.

I’m sure that other people think of Iranians as terrorists. They imagine them carrying bombs under their coats. Then, they come here, look around and wonder where are all those dangerous people.

The difference is – the terrorists in Iran are nowhere to be seen, but friendly people are everywhere.

During my first day in Iran I noticed that people were staring at me. They were staring straight into my face. They don’t peak, but they pass me and look me in the eye. Are you surprised? Tourism here is slowly developing, but a western tourist is still an attraction. Most people don’t speak English, so there is nothing for them to do but stare. Those that communicate in English often approach foreigners and chat them up.

It’s normally the same question – where are you from, which sounds more like ‘where from’. ‘Lachestan’ – I answer because that’s how you call Poland in Persian. ‘Welcome to Iran!’ – they shout back.

Sometimes I talk more with them and exchange views about the world.

Yesterday I was standing on an escalator, next to a young girl. She looked at me once, then again and she mumbled something under her nose. She smiled at herself. I thought that maybe she was a little crazy, or was one of those people who just tend to talk to themselves all the time. Now I know that she was just practicing and rehearsing what she wanted to say.

‘Be careful with your camera’ – she said to me, pointing at the devise, which I was holding in my hand. ‘People here are good, but thefts happen. ‘ We then talked about my impressions of Iran etc.
I thought the whole situation was charming.

This is my second day here and I’m already thinking that it will be hard for me to leave.