fake plastic trees
The difference in mood is palpable as soon as we cross the Turkey-Iran border. It is one of being oppressed, repressed, and depressed. Perhaps I will get used to it, but I really don't want to.
In the processing area of the Iranian border we are the immediate centre of attention. People appear to be intrigued, yet wary of us. Children are open with their fascination and quickly gather round anyone playing Nintendo or Playstation games. We will be accompanied by an Iranian tourguide throughout the trip in Iran. There are very mixed feelings about him by the end of Iran, but he was a font of knowledge.
Apart from the obvious differences, the striking thing about Iranian towns and cities is their love of fake plastic trees. On the streets there are many neon orange/yellow palm trees, cacti, and sunflowers. They look hyper in the day and illuminate at night. The whole of Iran looks as if it is on the brink of desertification. The countryside is a mix of varying shades of brown and yellow. The mountains look as if they've been carved from the Grand Canyon, as every layer of sediment is visible, and some shimer in their compression. The dried up river beds are futher evidence of the aridity.