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The Travel Episodes

A reading

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
  • B2B Hospitality on 1. Februar 2020

    Good info for the Travel­lers who want to go. Clari­fied in detail manner. Keep it up.

    Reply

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