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The Travel Episodes

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Couchsurfing in Iran

Officially, it’s prohibited. Still, Stefan Orth decides to couchsurf through Iran, thereby getting to know a country that doesn’t fit its image of a rogue state.

The young lady who’s so merrily reading drinking verses by the poet Hafis, is named Sofia. She lives in Isfahan in the middle of Iran. We met over the internet. Sofia is learning German and was thrilled when I brought along a book with translations of several famous Persian poems.

‘So that I shall recount to you this world’s hidden doings.’ This sentence might as well be the motto of my journey to Iran: In April and May 2014, I was there for two months, in order to find out what life is really like in the Islamic Republic, beyond the widespread stereotypes and prejudices.

With the help of the Couchsurfing website, I was able to live with the locals, look behind hidden doors and get to know a country, in which leading a double life is commonplace for young people. In public, women are veiled, officially everyone is a devout Muslim. But hidden from the public eye, life looks entirely different: there, people celebrate, drink and bitch about religion.

I didn’t live at Sofia’s place; she put me in contact with a male friend. After all, that would have been too risky for her, taking a man into her home. Officially, couchsurfing is prohibited in Iran: the state fears that this would give spies the opportunity to travel through the country, undetected.

For, if you stay at hotels, you are always required to show your passport and will be registered. Even if you are privately accommodated, the law requires you register within 24 hours with the local police (which no one does). Often, I had to secretly sneak through the door after making sure no neighbor was watching.

Meanwhile, despite the risk, there are 13.000 Couchsurfing members in Iran; that number increasing daily. You can sense that there’s an enormous curiosity about life in the West.

Also, the question ‘What do you think about Iran?’ keeps coming up.

Even after a few days on the road, I could answer without exaggeration: Iran is one of the most marvelous countries to visit in the world. And a country that enchants and enrages at the same time. It is enchanting because there are magical places like Yazd, Shiraz or Isfahan and wonderful nature and because the cordiality of the people is exceptional worldwide. It is enraging because it forces upon its citizens a state religion without leaving them a free choice. Because it doesn’t offer young people enough opportunities to develop their potential. Because it is a wealthy country, with gigantic oil- and gas reserves, but not many people benefit from it. They are like Cassim in the treasure cave in „Ali Baba and the 40 thieves“: surrounded by riches, but trapped.

 

Young Iranians: 60 percent of the locals are under 30 – many wish they had more freedom in their day-to-day life.

Young Iranians: 60 percent of the locals are under 30 – many wish they had more freedom in their day-to-day life.

Sofia from Isfahan: the 26-year old is learning German and is very interested in music.

Sofia from Isfahan: the 26-year old is learning German and is very interested in music.

A tip for souvenir shopping: water-pipe shop in Ahvaz.

A tip for souvenir shopping: water-pipe shop in Ahvaz.

Hosts in northern Iran: the friendliness of the people in Iran is probably unparalleled worldwide. Tourists are warmly welcomed.

Hosts in northern Iran: the friendliness of the people in Iran is probably unparalleled worldwide. Tourists are warmly welcomed.

In most of the cities, it wasn't a problem to find a private sleeping accommodation.

In most of the cities, it wasn’t a problem to find a private sleeping accommodation.

On the couch:

On the couch: „Welcome to Iran“ is one of the most frequent sentences that visitors get to hear.

Plastic wrap for a dining table: in many families, it is common to eat on the floor.

Plastic wrap for a dining table: in many families, it is common to eat on the floor.

Sofia shows me her city. Isfahan is famous for its giant Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the center and for its historic bridges crossing the Zayandeh Rud, the ‘River of Life’. But currently, it’s a dead river without a single drop of water. A strip of desert, cutting through the city. On the opposite bank, I can make out a dozen pedal boats with swan figure-heads, standing in the desiccated river bed.

‘The government had the water rerouted, no one knows exactly why’, Sofia says. ‘Maybe because they have to irrigate fields else-where. It hasn’t rained much, everything is withered. We don’t know when we will have water here again.“ On one bank, like a bad joke, there’s a sign that says „No Swimming’. Imagine Paris without the Seine or Hamburg without the Elbe.

Green parks frame the river, magnificent old stone bridges cross it. Now, they are simply ornamentation lacking any practical sense: one might as well cross over five or fifty meters next to them.

I want to know from Sofia if she’s angry that the water was cut off.

‘I don’t think about the government.’

‘That only brings you down. Lots of people will bicker all day long. I just live my life.’

‘And the vice squad?“ Your shoes look pretty daring, one can see your ankles.’

‘There’s plenty of things that are daring about my outfit. My make-up, even the color. But I work as an English teacher for girls who are at an elementary school age, and the children love it when I wear colorful gowns. Only with the headmaster do I sometimes get into a little bit of trouble.’

With other regulations in her country, she agrees. For example, when it comes to relationships between men and women. She doesn’t attend Couchsurfing gatherings because there is too much aggressive flirting going on. ‘Many are just looking for a mate. And they try to persuade others to drink, putting them under pressure with sentences like: “Well, you are not a modern woman.“ And yet, no girl is really modern in Iran, you only have to experience them at home.’

 

Ready for a ball game: anyone who visits Iranians at home will experience unforgettable insights into everyday life.

Ready for a ball game: anyone who visits Iranians at home will experience unforgettable insights into everyday life.

Girls in Hajij in western Iran: one day, the little mountain village might become a popular tourist destination. However, it lies close to the border to Iraq, where currently, one has to get precise information about how safe it is to travel there.

Girls in Hajij in western Iran: one day, the little mountain village might become a popular tourist destination. However, it lies close to the border to Iraq, where currently, one has to get precise information about how safe it is to travel there.

Kurdish traditional costume with rubber sandals: in the country's

Kurdish traditional costume with rubber sandals: in the country’s „wild“ West, I met exceptionally friendly people.

Iranian tourists in Yazd: many western visitors are surprised at how self-confident and outgoing young women often are.

Iranian tourists in Yazd: many western visitors are surprised at how self-confident and outgoing young women often are.

Climbing couple on Bisotun rocks near Kermanshah: without a headscarf, nothing will do in public – not even sports.

Climbing couple on Bisotun rocks near Kermanshah: without a headscarf, nothing will do in public – not even sports.

I encounter many more Iranians in their homes, a colorful blend of characters, who have developed very different ways of coming to terms with the restraints of their country.

For example, Ehsan* (*real name withheld) from western Iran, descendant of the Iranian ruler Karim Khan Zahd and a passionate winemaker. Each year, he produces 600 liters of wine. Dry, slight aroma of blackberry, a bit of a furry aftertaste.

‘For every liter, I would get one year in jail if they caught me. That would be 600 years,’ he explains.

For example, Elaheh, who lives in the holy city of Mashhad and who spontaneously invites me to a bikini party. Behind four meter high concrete walls, we go swimming in a small pool. We drink Delster lemonade; the organizers forgot alcohol and drugs at home. Most of the time we sit around, eat chunks of melon and smoke Bahman cigarettes. The most innocent party in the world, but had somebody caught us, we would have all been arrested for the outfits the girls were wearing.

For example, Nasrin from Kerman, who skips a day at work in order to drive me and two Australians to the Kaluts desert region. Two years ago, Nasrin lost her license as a tourist guide because it came out that she regularly hosts foreigners at her place. Yet, she still continues to do so. And although she’s been in the Kaluts over 20 times, she still takes a sickie just for us – such are the priorities in the world-champion country of hospitality: Iran.

Saeed is twenty, a student of graphic design, with bushy eyebrows and a stunning smile.
After reading a post of mine in the discussion forum on Couchsurfing, he wrote to me and asked if I intended to visit Shiraz on my journey and wanted to stay with him.

According to what I know from his online profile, Saeed likes kickboxing, BMX bikes, juggling, plus he’s an absolute Couchsurfing junkie. In the past three months, he had hosted 45 guests, organized gatherings and is constantly traveling himself in his home country, with a tent and a backpack.

 
 

Host Saeed: the 20-year old prefers to hitchhike through his country.

Host Saeed: the 20-year old prefers to hitchhike through his country.

Mountain tour on the 2800 meter high Derak:

Mountain tour on the 2800 meter high Derak: „Nowhere do I feel as free as in nature,“ says Saeed.

Mausoleum for the Sufi Dervish Schah Nimatollah Wali near Kerman: at some spectacular sights, I was the only foreign tourist that day.

Mausoleum for the Sufi Dervish Schah Nimatollah Wali near Kerman: at some spectacular sights, I was the only foreign tourist that day.

Falling off the bed impossible: the sleeping accommodation in the Hafis hotel on the island Qeshm was less inviting than the ones of many Couchsurfing hosts.

Falling off the bed impossible: the sleeping accommodation in the Hafis hotel on the island Qeshm was less inviting than the ones of many Couchsurfing hosts.

In the Kaluts desert region: apparently, somebody noticed that this isn't the

In the Kaluts desert region: apparently, somebody noticed that this isn’t the „hottest area in the world“ after all – at least, that’s what the corrections on the sign suggest.

In the

In the „Kaluts“, wind and erosion have formed gigantic sand mountains – an unforgettable wonder of nature.

Evening mood in Yazd: holding hands in public is actually against the rules – if no one is looking, some young people will do it anyway.

Evening mood in Yazd: holding hands in public is actually against the rules – if no one is looking, some young people will do it anyway.

Taxi driver close to Kerman: this man totally reminds me of Armin Müller-Stahl. He offered me Halva and cigarettes and took two Euros too much for this ride – it's worth this souvenir picture.

Taxi driver close to Kerman: this man totally reminds me of Armin Müller-Stahl. He offered me Halva and cigarettes and took two Euros too much for this ride – it’s worth this souvenir picture.

Destroyed Iraqi tank at the battlefield Fatholmobin: the memory of the war in the neighboring country (1980-1988) is kept alive at many memorials.

Destroyed Iraqi tank at the battlefield Fatholmobin: the memory of the war in the neighboring country (1980-1988) is kept alive at many memorials.

Statue of Liberty with skull: such graffitis can be seen at the former American embassy in Teheran.

Statue of Liberty with skull: such graffitis can be seen at the former American embassy in Teheran.

Teheran by night: Iran's doors and windows are entirely opaque, so that from the outside, you don't know what is happening indoors.

Teheran by night: Iran’s doors and windows are entirely opaque, so that from the outside, you don’t know what is happening indoors.

Couchsurfing and drinking tea: altogether, I spent the night at 22 different hosts on my trip.

Couchsurfing and drinking tea: altogether, I spent the night at 22 different hosts on my trip.

Saeed is having another visitor. On the carpet lounges Christian from Columbia. He’s in his mid-twenties, has a six-day beard, and manages to look extremely tired and extremely happy at the same time. Drunk on traveling and high from the streets; four months ago he quit his job as a consultant and is now jetting around the world. Kenia, Tansania, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Egypt, Turkey. Iran was the only country on his route where his mother asked him to give her notice every two days that he was still alive.

‘There’s a parallel: Columbia also has a bad reputation in the world. Instantly, everybody thinks of cocaine, drug lords and crime. And yet, the country has so much to offer. High mountains and dream beaches, marvelous nature and lively cities. But many people are scared to go there.“

‘I’ve had guests who kept their travel destination a secret from their parents,’ says Saeed.

‘People think that, in Iran, there’s a terrorist waiting at every corner and that protesters are constantly burning US and Israel flags. What nonsense.’ He makes black tea in his samovar. A narrow kitchenette divides the two rooms of the tubular apartment.

On shelves lie sea-shells from the Persian Gulf, magic dice, juggling balls and a considerable collection of foreign coins. Cents, Pence, Liras, Rupees, Pesos. The entrance door is lined with screening aluminum foil, to the back the apartment has a window, covered with cardboard and a door to the courtyard, hidden behind a dark-red curtain.

‘But the police here are unpleasant,’ says Cristian. ‘In Teheran, I was sitting with an Iranian friend on a bench when two officers came and took our picture. They didn’t say a word. They probably just wanted to intimidate us.’

‘Every day, I expect the police to stand in front of my door because of all of the visitors,’ says Saeed. ‘I am prepared for that. But until then, I will have as many guests as I want.’

Modern Talking and a marriage

Funman

I met an exceptional host at the Caspian Sea in the north of Iran. We are now best friends. Here, he presents himself in a selfie video.

The most free person whom I met on my entire Iran trip, is 53, wears a mustache and a khaki vest and is called Mohamed. Funman, the nickname with which he signs his emails suits him much better.

We meet in front of an ice-cream parlor in Abbas Bad, a small town at the Caspian Sea, that mainly consists of a main road with adjacent rows of houses.

‘I looove ice-cream!’

announces Funman, who is yelling the words, his organ doesn’t seem to be construed for quiet sounds. ‘Why are so many people unhappy or stressed out? All it needs is ice-cream to make one happy,’ he calls, coming from the counter with two full bowls. ‘And that’s exactly what’s most important in life: having fun!’ We have only known each other for a minute, but the motto for the following days is already decided.

‘Tonight, I am invited to a wedding. My son won’t be here, but would you like to come in his place?’ Skeptically, he looks me up from top to bottom. After having been on the road for more than six weeks, I would make a good actor in a laundry detergent commercial. For the ‘before’ pictures. ‘Do you have something suitable to wear?’

The shop is a small snack booth with plastic tables, and maps on the wall. In a big pot, Funman’s wife Mahboube is cooking Ash soup, which she serves in plastic bowls. ‘I will introduce you to some friends of mine at the wedding. And you will meet a lot of pretty girls. It starts at nine!,’ Funman calls.
 
 

Foto: http://minaesfandiari.com

Foto: http://minaesfandiari.com

Foto: http://minaesfandiari.com

Foto: http://minaesfandiari.com

‘No, better at eight,’ Mahboube corrects him in a soft voice. She is dressed conservatively and radiates a great serenity. The contrast to him could hardly be any greater. For a gift, I give them both a pack of walnut cookies, my marzipan supplies have long been gone.

‘I looove candy, how did you know that?? Thanks! I won’t share with anybody!’

is the host’s reaction. Continuing in direct quote ‘Do you want to use the internet? Come, I will add you as a friend on Facebook! I need music! My wife thinks I’m too loud. Aaah, bicyclists!’ He runs out because there are a couple of people on mountain bikes on the main road panting by. My host has the composure of a swarm of wasps whose nest was just hit by a rock.

‘I looove bicyclists,’ he explains when he comes back. ‘I am registered with ‚Warm Showers‘, that’s a platform only for bicyclists who are looking for an accommodation.’ All in all, he has accommodated 300 to 400 visitors in the past two and half years at his place.

Raisin Schnapps

The wedding at the Vazik hotel is a glittering celebration with a few hundred visitors in suits and evening gowns. And one visitor in jeans and a black shirt. In the parking lot stands a polished white Hyundai with a flower arrangement on the hood, a kind of pavilion leads to the dining-hall and to an octagonal room with a dance floor.

Most of the women are not wearing a veil, but daring short skirts and heels beyond the ten-centimeter-mark. Of course, that’s against the rule, but the bridal couple will have taken precautions. With an impressive bundle of bills, one can negotiate with the local police that no patrol will get lost at the Vazik for an evening.

A group of men who are sitting on the other side of the parking lot at wooden tables also benefit from that. Funman directs me there, introduces me to some acquaintances. And so we are already sitting in the thick of it, and a young man with a particularly neat haircut and a particularly fine suit is pouring us some raisin schnapps that is only enjoyable when it’s mixed with Delster lemonade.

Group pictures are taken. Only the young guy with the bottle doesn’t want to be in the picture. ‘He is with the Marines,’ Funman explains. He’s afraid because a booze party pic on Facebook or Instagram could get him into trouble. Another one approaches me with glazed eyes and kisses me three times on the cheek.

‘I have always wanted to kiss a German guy,’ he slurs and raises his arm to perform the Hitler salute, the swinging almost makes him lose his balance.

‘But I am not gay!’

A friend pushes him away ‘Don’t pay attention to him, he’s crazy.’

The drinks are strong like gasoline and of a dubious quality. I’m glad that we shift our location to the dance floor after three glasses. ‘Let’s see how the young generation responds to you,’ says Funman.

 
IMG_9604
 
 
At first, it doesn’t respond at all. But I am content to simply observe the events from a chair that’s been wrapped in silk. Right now, a couple has to dance a solo tango and waltz. The groom is about three heads taller than the bride, she seems a little tense and is sweating in her multi-layered bridal dress. Right behind me is a DJ, a guy with bodybuilder arms, who is constantly yelling something into the microphone. The PA is turned up a lot louder than in most German clubs, Funman goes to stand right in front of the speakers.

‘I like loud music,’ he yells. ‘Come on, get on the dance floor!’

 
Translation by Kate Weyerer

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An Episode by

Couchsurfing in Iran

Stephan Orth

Stephan Orth is an editor at Spiegel Online and has been a passionate couchsurfer for the past ten years. During his travels, he has spent the night at locals‘ homes in more than 30 countries. „In Iran, I met the most hospitable people in the world,“ he says. He shares his experiences in his book „Couchsurfing in Iran„. Published by Malik Verlag.

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  • Mandy // Movin'n'Groovin on 29. März 2015

    Großartig! Jetzt will ich unbedingt in den Iran reisen, einfach nur um Funman kennen zu lernen. :-)

    Reply
    • Stephan on 31. März 2015

      Fahr unbedingt hin! Und bestell‘ ihm schöne Grüße von mir! :-)

  • Judith on 29. März 2015

    Irgendwas faszinierendes, mir unerklärliches, scheint e an Brother Louie zu geben. das lied schafft es jedenfalls um die Welt, ich wurde einst um 4 Uhr morgens im Salar de Uyuni davon geweckt und das gesamte Küchenteam hat lautstark mitgesungen. freunde von funman?

    Reply
  • Manuel on 29. März 2015

    Ein toller Beitrag und macht Lust auf mehr!
    Wir (meine Partnerin in ich) kommen auch bald in den Iran, bei unserer Reise entlang der Seidenstraße Richtung China und wir freuen uns auch schon unglaublich darauf. Ich glaube ich werde mir dein Buch vorher auch nochmal genauer ansehen, als Vorbereitung und Einstimmung :)

    Reply
    • Stephan on 31. März 2015

      Freut mich! Viel Spaß auf der Reise, klingt großartig! War im November noch in den Seidenstraßen-Orten Kashgar und Ürümqi in China, auch total spannend dort.

  • Lea on 30. März 2015

    Ohrwurm!

    Ich habe die letzten Tage die ersten Kapitel im Buch gelesen… eine schöne Ergänzung mit Live-Lesung und Einblicken!

    Reply
  • Johannes on 30. März 2015

    Toller Bericht, Danke!

    Reply
  • Chris on 1. April 2015

    Toller Reisebericht und ich kann aus eigener Erfahrung sagen: Die gastfreundlichsten Menschen, die man sich nur vorstellen kann. Es ist zum Beispiel bei der Benutzung eines Taxis nicht selten üblich, dass der Fahrer am Ende der Fahrt sagt, dass die Fahrt auf ihn gehe – natürlich ist dies nur eine Floskel, aber es sagt doch eine Menge über das generelle Miteinander in diesem Land aus. Und wenn man dann nach zweimaligem „Nein, ich nehme es nicht“ – „Doch bitte nimm das Geld“-Diskussionen aus dem Taxi aussteigt, fühlt man sich doch weitaus besser, als bei einer Fahrt in Berlin, wo man bei jeder zweiten Fahrt versucht wird, über’s Ohr gehauen zu werden.

    Reply
  • Hubert on 3. Mai 2015

    Hi Stephan,
    habe Dein Buch gelesen. Faszinierend, lebendig beschrieben. Wir waren 2014 im Iran – allerdings organisiert – und haben auch die hohe Gastfreundlichkeit und Offenheit erlebt. Wir hatten auch unsere Erlebnisse, aber nicht ganz so spektakulär wie du sie erlebt hast.
    Gruß aus Vöhringen-Illerberg
    Hubert Günther

    Reply
  • Corinna on 13. Oktober 2015

    Lieber Stephan,
    letzten Sommer habe ich mit meinem Verlobten dessen Familie im Iran zwei Wochen lang besucht und dabei eine unglaublich aufregende Zeit erlebt.
    In den Städten Tehran, Isfahan, Fouman und Masouleh hatte ich unglaublich viel Spaß.
    Nach einer Houseparty, einem rießigen Stau und einem leichten Autounfall (bei dem die Frage nach Schuld und Vorfahrtsregeln wohl auf ewig ungeklärt bleiben wird) war mir klar: dieses Land mit all seinen vielfältigen Charakteren, wunderschönen Landschaften und beeindruckenden Sehenswürdigkeiten ist einfach unbeschreiblich!
    In 15 Tagen konnte ich mich mit ein paar „Überlebenstricks“ selbst in öffentlichen persischen Toiletten und mit Hilfe einer praktischen Kopftuchbefestigung ganz gut durchschlagen :)
    Gerade Deutsche werden unglaublich gastfreundlich behandelt und die Neugier und das Interesse, gerade nach Deutschland, sind rießig.
    Ich kann es kaum erwarten, zurückzugehen um weitere Städte zu besichtigen.
    Ich bin froh, dass Menschen wie du „fremde Welten“ für Andere erschließen und die eigenen Eindrücke weitergeben und darüber berichten. Ich denke, das ist schon viel, was wir hier vor Ort tun können, um vielleicht wenigstens einige Vorurteile abbauen zu können!
    Dein Buch hat mir sehr gut gefallen und ich freue mich schon jetzt auf viele weitere Städte Irans, die du beschrieben hast und die ich einmal selbst sehen will.
    Anschließend noch eine Frage: Wo bekomme ich denn Karten für deine Lesung in Kaiserslautern?
    Liebe Grüße :)

    Reply
  • Ebi on 17. November 2015

    Hallo Stephan,

    dein Buch ist ein Grund dafür, warum mein Kumpel und ich über Weihnachten in den Iran reisen wollen.
    Wir wollen für 2 Wochen ein Auto mieten, und von Norden nach Süden einige Städte besichtigen. Natürlich würden wir auf 2 weiteren mitreisenden uns freuen. Wir werden von Stuttgart fliegen wollen. Und Reisebeginn ist um 20.12.2015

    Gruß
    Ebi

    Reply
  • Ramin on 25. November 2015

    Mein Vater ist Iraner, aber nach Deutschland geflohen. Leider war ich noch nie im Iran, will aber unbedingt einmal dorthin. Mit deinem Buch hat es sich für einen Moment so angefühlt, als wäre ich dort. Danke. :)

    Reply
  • Thomas Stein on 24. Dezember 2015

    Hallo, klasse Buch, wann kommen Sie in die Nähe von Göttingen um eine Lesung zu machen?
    Danke für die Rückmeldung

    Reply
  • Ahmad on 29. Dezember 2015

    Reply
  • Manfred Pradka on 22. April 2016

    Lieber Herr Orth,
    es ist das Vorrecht der Jugend zu erleben, wie man die Welt erleben will. Man ist jung,
    1.90 Meter groß und voller attraktiver Männlichkeit („handsome“, – wie die naive Iranerin sagen würde). Prädestiniert für den Erfolg, wohin einem auch die Füße tragen mögen und sei es auf die Couch hübscher Iranerinnen, die sich dann aber doch nicht zu Ihrem Leidwesen trauen. Schade, viele trauen sich! Dazu noch Spiegel-Reiseressort Mitarbeiter, na, wenn das keinen Spiegelbestseller gibt! So einfach ist alles, ein bisschen Romantik, ein bisschen Respekt, keine Spur von Angst, warum auch, und es bleibt nur die Frage, was wollen Sie eigentlich mit den Erlebnissen im Iran „irrwitziger Abenteuer“ kommunizieren?
    Ich habe 7 Jahre als Geschäftsführer einer großen deutschen Chemiefirma von 1994 bis 2000 im Iran gelebt und das Land in allen Himmelsrichtungen durchquert, nicht um zu erfahren, ob man Alkohol, Drogen oder Sex bekommen kann und wo und mit welchem Risiko, sondern um die Schönheiten des Landes und seiner vielfältigen Kultur kennen zu lernen. Dazu bedurfte es nicht eines sich selbst auf die Schulter zu klopfen und der Feststellung, was bin ich doch für ein toller Kerl! Ihre Beschreibung dieses Landes und seiner Menschen klingt doch arg pubertär und glauben Sie mir, 1993 als ich das erste Mal in das Land reiste bzw. dann 1994 mit meiner beruflichen Übersiedlung nach Teheran, hätten Sie noch ein anderes Land erlebt. Im Übrigen hätten Sie sich mit Ihrer Kollegin Frau Christiane Hoffmann austauschen können, deren Blickwinkel vom Iran, den sie eine gewisse Zeit in der FAZ darstellen durfte, bevor sie zum „Spiegel“ wechselte, war auch oft sehr von mangelnder Kenntnis und gehöriger Subjektivität geprägt und auf Quellen beruhend, die zu ihrer ständigen Verfügung standen, gleich, um was es ging, was nicht gerade zur Erleuchtung der realen Situation beigetragen hat. Nehmen Sie mir meine Kritik aber nicht übel, aber unter einem „Bestseller“ verstehe ich nicht nur etwas was man gut verkauft, sondern mehr Seriosität und Kenntnis über ein Land dieser Kategorie. Ich habe, um abzuschließen, lange Jahre in Lateinamerika, Afrika und dem Nahen Osten gelebt und gearbeitet seit ich 2000 in den Ruhestand ging. Ich bin also auch ein bisschen herumgekommen. Allerdings habe ich es auch nicht für möglich gehalten, wie heute die Frauen, vor allem in Teheran, herumlaufen. Ich warne Sie aber, man weiß alles von Ihnen und Ihren Gastgebern, täuschen Sie sich nicht und die allgemeine Situation kann morgen schon eine völlig andere sein. Auffallend ist ohnehin schon die Einstellung von 7000 neuen Sittenwächter in Teheran und die Stille um Rohani und seinen Leuten bzw. die Angriffe Chameneis auf Rafsandjani. Sie haben in Ihrem Buch vergessen zu erwähnen, was „Ketman“ oder Taky-a bedeutet.
    Bis zu einem gewissen Grad war Ihr Bericht aber sehr erfrischend.
    Mit freundlichen Grüßen
    Manfred Pradka
    Klara-Mayer-Straße 22
    55294 Bodenheim

    Reply
  • Couchsurfing: hacer del alojamiento una experiencia única - Road to Nowhere on 10. Mai 2016

    […] plataforma les abre una puerta al mundo de Occidente por la cual sienten una inmensa curiosidad. Stefan Orth vive este fenómeno de primera mano y gracias a Couchsurfing, descubre lo que es realmente la vida […]

    Reply
  • sajad on 5. November 2016

    HI great narrative hope to see u in Iran again and Isfahan i have account in cs send and email

    Reply

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