Edited and revised 4-9-13
My youngest son, Scott, pointed out to me that I hadn’t put my photos from Iran online.
I uploaded them temporarily on my http://www.petesmemories.com/biopt4 page, until I have the time to work on this page.
I noticed there was no “orange taxi”, and I realized that some photos had been lost, so I got out my brown album, and I scanned the Iran photos for the third time. The memories are precious, and I would hate to leave out a single one. I discovered two additional photos that I had stashed in another place. I am trying a goofy numbering system that already got screwed up, and I’m not sure how to fix it easily. There are actually only about fifteen photos, or less, that got lost. It’s probably best to start over.
I will post it, each day when I finish working on it.
If you want a quickie, you can see a power point slide show at http://www.petesmemories.com/IRAN.ppt
Another thing you won’t want to miss is the scrapbook that Pam put together, after we returned.
See that at http://www.petesmemories.com/scrapbook.html
I had the pleasure of visiting the country of Iran, not once, but twice.
The first trip was to take a job working directly for the Iranian government. We were hired in Los Angeles by N.W.W.A.S.I., which is Northrop World Wide Aeronautical Services International, or something like that. It matters not. It was my first experience with Northrop Management.
We were to be met at the airport. After a twenty four hour flight, we were exhausted, and an American face would have been so welcome. But a national was sent to meet us, and we got our first taste of the “language barrier” that most of us never overcame.
The L.A. gang consisted, mostly, of Lear Siegler employees from Norton A.F.B. and most of them were already world travelers, like myself. My friend, Don Hill had joined the Norton crew after a tour in Viet Nam. He was the first one of us to buy a vehicle for transportation. Don and his wife, Nancy, were our closest friends, and we went everywhere, together.
Don and Nancy Hill in California At our marble mansion in Iran
There were so many vehicles to choose from, including two models of autos, made in Iran. Don found an old Land Rover in excellent condition, and together, we saw places and things that no one else could reach.
Most of us were restricted by a lack of transportation. We were dependent on the “orange taxi”, and the “blue taxi” and the city bus, which I never had the pleasure of experiencing. Also, you could catch a ride with an adventurous Iranian, who may or may not charge you for the ride. Thank goodness for the Land Rover. Don and I saw things no one else ever got the opportunity to see. Most of the time it was both our families, all together, but Don and I slipped away, occasionally, and did our own “thing”.
Don had a ride, before we checked out of the hotel, and we saw a lot of things, before we even had a place to live.
We all started out in the Kings Hotel, but when we realized they had a monopoly, we negotiated with some surrounding hotels for a better price. We finally decided to stay at the Hotel Victoria. The opportunities were countless, everyday, and we were overwhelmed by the night life in Tehran.
During the day, we looked for a house or apartment, and it wasn’t long before we found a place, almost right across the street from the hotel. In was on what we call an alley. The Farsi word is “kuche”. The address was Kuche Karyabi. It was a three story, marble mansion, with cathedral ceilings, and for the price asking, we snapped it up, without giving any thought to how we would heat the place, in the winter. It was owned by a wealthy family, and the older generation, the owner, occupied the second floor, and his sons and daughters in law occupied the third. We shared a party line telephone. Interesting! The old man was constantly trying to improve the place, and we had him and his workers traipsing through the house at some pretty inconvenient times.
Todd and Scott with Tracy Westfall The lineup. Michelle Kays???
Before we were able to entertain ourselves, we attended the “Officer’s Club” on the American Base in Tehran as guests of ex-military folks. John and Irene Loper, invited us to go with them quite often. There was a cartoon artist, one of the times we were there. We bought a couple of pieces of his work that we actually watched him complete, right before our eyes.
Two creations by the Tehranian cartoonist, “Hayroza”.
Living in the hotel, we were invited to many of the events that took place in the hotel. There was always a wedding, or other celebration going on, and we were allowed to take part. An Iranian photographer caught us at a rather tense moment, at a wedding we attended in the hotel.
I was assigned to an offsite machine shop, to manufacture some items that were unavailable. I was placed under the wing of Ahmadi, an English speaking Iranian, who gained instant fame, simply by being able to converse with me. There were no others able to speak enough without translation.
Through translation, I acquired many new friends, and Mahmood Zulfagri invited me to a traditional wedding.
My special friend, Ahmadi Mahmood and his lovely bride All together now
The farther north you go the more big luxury hotels you see, and more of the signs are in English. The farther south you go, the less English you see, and the poorer class of people live in the south part of town. This monument is as far south as anyone ever went, unless they were headed for Isfahan, a south central town. I always thought that the name of the monument was “Shayad”, but have recently come to find that there is another name for it.
Doshen Tappeh is south and east of this monument. I worked there nearly six months, without ever speaking English, except with Ahmadi, and it became necessary for me to learn some Farsi, in order to communicate with my fellow workers. Ahmadi was my teacher, and he was a good one.
We did a lot of exploring at the north end of Tehran. There were little side streets, tucked away from unobservant eyes.
A lifestyle goes on that we are unaware of.
To the far north of town, outside of any residences, we climbed to the top of a hill where we could look down over the city.
Iran has a homestead provision, where you could lay claim to unclaimed land but improvements are mandatory. The requirement is usually met by fencing in the land. Stone walls are cheap and plentiful.
Typical “Greenstone Wall” A stone mason at work
I wish I could remember how we found out about the sportsman’s resort, just off of the Caspian Sea. It accommodated hunters, fisherman, and outdoor folks, in general. There were rooms, (very nice), and an excellent restaurant, where I had a heavenly sturgeon soufflé. There were fishing boats available, and we were introduced to Bashir, a resident guide, who became a treasured friend. He took us across the mordab (lagoon) to where it was fed by a river, loaded with catfish. On the way out, we captured a bunch of frogs, which we used for bait. On our very first trip, we caught several hundred pounds of catfish. We offered to share with Bashir, but Iranians don’t eat fish without scales.
Holy catfish, Batman! Lance Borden and Bashir My friend. Took me to meet his family
When we didn’t have a couple days off, Don and I would get in the “jeep” (he called it), and drive for several hours away from town, at a time, and every new direction brought a new discovery.
One discovery we made, I wish I had found out more about, a ghost village, within three hours of town. We were driving west of town, when we saw this building………….
We had to get on a dirt road to get a closer look. That’s when we saw this.
We had to get on a dirt road to get a closer look. That’s when we saw this.
A closer look reveals crumbling walls and…………………………….an underground aquaduct system.
We were separated from the main part if the ghost town by this wall. We were afraid to enter. The building behind the wall appeared to be occupied, but after a couple of bad experiences, we didn’t risk trying to make contact.
Outside of the wall, we could see a pond, through this tree. Looking back at the tree.
This is what the whole thing looks like, from a distance…………………..
Looking out the back of the “jeep”, driving away.
Judging from the shadows, it is right around noon, and south would be to the right, and the mountains to the south.
I’m hoping I can find this again with Google Earth.
When we made trips out of town, you never knew what you would see, on the road.
One of the sights of the city is the Tehran Zoo. I can’t remember what animals they had, as the people were more interesting to look at.
West of town, and in the foothills is Karaj Dam. It supplies hydroelectric power for much of the area.
My friend Mike Kays, one of the L.S.I. guys.
Leila and Bahman Leila and the boys
The road to Karadj Dam