Held Hostage In The Iranian Embassy For A Day
|Work goes on and time is ticking
away slowly till I go to Iran on the 19
May. Sigh! I really need a holiday.
I'm really starting to
look forward to going to Iran despite
spending a bladder busting day in the Iranian embassy waiting for
the visa. In one hour, they processed 2 people. Things seem to speed
up after the man had his coffee and by 2pm I had got to the head of
the queue. After a few questions and
chanting 'Death To America' several times, they told me to come back
at 3pm. I did so only to be told I'd have to wait some more while
the guy had his lunch. I finally got
the visa an hour later.
The highlight of
my day was meeting a cheeky Iranian mother and
her English born rather tasty 18ish daughter on the way out. They asked
why I was going to Iran. I cheekily said "Obviously,
it's sex, drugs and the alcohol". The mother laughed and said
"You'll find plenty of that in Iran. You
just need to know where to look!". The daughter
just looked exasperated.
||Have already received a few
travel tips including
one from my doctor. Apparently the girls in Shiraz are the
most beautiful in Iran ... how you'd ever know that with all the
covering up, I've no idea. My Iranian
friend Massih said there are ways but
they're subtle ... and require a man to become a connoisseur of
women's finer points. I'm not sure whether he was talking about
nipples sticking out in the cold air or something else. I'm sure
they cover those up ... maybe with tape or
something Ayatollah approved.
I was also told by someone
to check out the 'Death To
America Cafe' in Tehran. Needless to say, I'll be buying the
mandatory souvenir t-shirt for myself and all my friends. Makes a
big contrast to my Hard Rock Cafe Beirut T-shirt with the peace
symbol on it saying 'All Is One'. And I'm sure they'll be great to
wear next time I'm strolling through US Customs. The US border guard
love that sh*t.
looking forward to trying out
Inshallah! Oh! and I saw a picture of a
suicide bomber training school in the newspaper so I'll be sure to check
that out. I'm guessing it focuses more on the theory rather than the
practical. Otherwise, I'm not to sure how many graduates there would be.
Anyway ... more when I get back.
The Old Bitch Reborn
As some of you are aware, in 2000, I bought an
extremely old high mileage BMW R80RT and promptly called it the 'Old
Bitch'. I can honestly say it was one of the worst two wheeled
buys of my life. It didn't go well, it
didn't stop well, and much to my great regret, no one stole
it either. On the other hand, I spent five
months of my life on it and after so many miles, crashes, breakdowns
and £1200 worth of parking tickets, I reluctantly sold it to
a friend of a friend for a second hand VB stubby holder.
Anyway, Stubby Holder Man has
resurrected the Old Bitch into something 'muy especial'.
Full Story ».
Heaven Less Opulent Than Vatican, Reports
Well, you can always rely on The Onion, one of my favourite news
sources, to put world events into perspective. Here's last
week's coverage on the sad demise of the Pope.
HEAVEN—The soul of Pope John Paul, which entered
heaven last week following a long illness, expressed confusion and
disappointment Saturday, upon learning that the Celestial Kingdom of
God to which the departed faithful ascend in the afterlife is
significantly less luxurious than the Vatican's Papal Palace, in
which the pope spent the past 26 years of his earthly life.
Full Text »
On a more serious note, I have
a lot of polish friends and all of them were very upset by the
pope's passing, crying as they watched the pope's funeral on TV.
For many Poles, the Pope was Poland and they felt like they'd lost a
family member. There was an amazingly spontaneous gathering of
polish people in Trafalgar Square on the Thursday night before his
funeral. The organisers expected 200 people to turn up but
after a lot of word of mouth (and text messages), over 5000 Poles
living in London turned up.
Stop Stealing Monkeys
several weeks of walking past London Zoo Monkey Experience advertisements
saying "Put your monkeys, in with our monkeys", I decided to go with
to take Anka
to the London Zoo to check them out.
They were mega cute.
I was kind of tempted to steal one.
are a few photos »
What I've been reading
Pompeii By Robert Harris.
Pompeii is basically a who dunnit starting in the two days before the
eruption of Vesuvius. The engineer Marcus Attilius has just taken
charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct which brings fresh
water to a quarter of million people in nine towns around the bay of
Napoli. But .... and there always is one ... springs are failing
for the first time in generations, his predecessor has disappeared ....
and now there is a crisis on the Augusta's sixty mile main line -
somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvious.
Well ... that's the cover blurb.
As far as Robert Harris books go, it's not his best but it's not a bad
yarn and you do get an interesting insight into roman aqueducts, how
they were built, how were they were maintained. For me, the thing
most interesting was reading about Pompeii and picking out the things
I'd seen when I visited the ruins in 2002 - the uncompleted baths, the
bakeries, the brothels (and the phalluses carved into the street
pointing the way to the brothel), the houses and the Temple of Isis.
See the photos
of my visit to Pompeii here
Baghdad Blog: The Baghdad Blog by
- During the lead up to the Second Gulf War (and the way things with
America and Iran are going, we'll probably be having a third), a young
Iraqi man living in Baghdad began publishing a diary on the internet.
He adopted the name Salam Pax and wrote in complete secrecy about life
under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and the distengration of his
regime. It's an interesting book. And the blog is still
See Where's Raed for more
By Michael Crichton - This is a thriller based around some twisted
business genius (eerily similar to Bill Gates) who develops a time
travel machine and sends a bunch of history students back fun fun and
games in the 14th century 100 years war France. A damn fine
escapist read ... especially if you're spending a heap of time touring
castles in Belgium and Luxemburg.
By Phillip Elliot-Wright - Okay ... I admit ... I'm a nerd. I
bought this book when we visited Waterloo. It's a about the formation of
units of infantry using rifles instead of muskets upto and during the
wars against Napoleon.
What've I've been
watching and listening to
Churchill - The Hollywood Years
- I'm sure a lot of people missed the point of this film and didn't
bother seeing. Basically, it takes the piss out of a how
Hollywood rewrites history to suit themselves and America's view of
the world. U571, Pearl Harbour and The Patriot are prime
In this film, Churchill is American, the
real Churchill is not Churchill but someone else, Princess Elizabeth
is in love with Churchill, he can rap, King George has no idea what
universe he is in, Princess Margaret is spoilt to her teeth and
dog-loving Hitler has taken control over the British Army. What more
could possibly go wrong? A great film with
a heap of English comedy actors thrown in.
Marmulak (The Lizard) - I saw this fantastic film at the ICA in
London with my friend Massih. It's an Iranian comedy
about a thief who escapes from jail dressed as a priest.
Somehow, he manages to carry on the charade and
soon has people flooding back into the mosque with his laid back
style, sexually suggestive jokes and references to brother (Quentin)
Tarantino, the American film director.
All in all a good laugh.
Massih was in stitches as he hasn't heard Tehran street slang in
years. I found it pretty funny as well given that the Tehran
street slang converted to 'Bro', 'Dude', etc.
here for a full review »
And here for a sample»
Pyrenees - I love the
Factory. It's a great place near London Bridge where for £20
you can have dinner and see some great theatre in a small intimate
setting. The latest play I saw was called The Pyrenees ...
about a guy that turns up in the Pyrenees with a suit full of cash and a
case of amnesia. Well worth the effort.
here for the full review ».
Forth coming content
Argentina and Patagonia
South East Asia
Motorcycling In Spain