Week 23 – Two Weddings in One Week

Week 23, 19.9 – 25.9

Finally a great week!!! I was invited to two weddings parties. The first one was right on the first day of the week, on Saturday (19.9). So after school I took a little nap, then put my suit jacket on and went by metro near Karaj. There E. picked me up, the husband of A., at whom I stayed during my desert trip and with whom I met several times afterwards. I have to admit I was quite excited and a little shy, since I think it was only my second wedding in total and I already heard many people rhapsodising about Iranian wedding parties. On Saturday the sister of A. was getting married.
I arrived and the celebration room was parted: One part for the women where I could not enter and one part for the the men. Till dinner the men danced a little bit and I have to admit that the Persian are great dancers. Still I didn’t shy and just jumped about.
It’s tradition to throw money at the groom (or bride). Fortunately the paper money in Iran is worth not much. So 10,000 (25 Euro Cent), 20,000 and rarely 50,000 Rial-bills were thrown in the air (see video). In Germany or other western countries people either would get poor quickly or hurt themselves since they needed to throw with coins. Who catches the money is said to marry next, but mostly little children collected the bills.
After the delicious dinner, men and women started dancing together and the wedding cake was cut. But somehow it ended shortly after midnight, but it was still a very nice experience.
The next wedding party was supposed to happen on Tuesday. In the meantime a little exhibition due to Iran-Iraq war was built up at Vali-e Asr square where I use to get off the bus coming from school. You can see weapons like AKs, mortars or clothes of soldiers or posters showing “facts” and statistics.
The party on Tuesday (22.9) was also in Karaj. This time I didn’t go with E. and A. but with M., with whom I already visited the exhibition at the Museum for Contemporary Arts the week before. A work colleague got married and since it seems to be a costum in Iran not to go alone to a wedding – no matter if being male or female – she just asked me. This time the party was mixed from the beginning and everything seemed to be more formal and richer. E.g. mostly 50,000 Rials bills were thrown – I caught two. Before dinner some snacks were served and together with M.’s friends we went outside to – as Iranians always do – take photos of each other and smoke water pipe.
Like the first wedding the dinner was delicious and then we rocked the dance floor. This wedding party fortunately finished a bit later than the first one, so we could dance more. In the end every one wanted to take photos with the bride and groom. It took at least an hour since we got ours and bridal couple looked really exhausted.
The weekend was a little quieter. I met again with M. and Mahsa, who works for a travel agency and offered me to translate some texts from English into proper German (meanwhile I accepted so have my first little job here in Iran).
I didn’t get much sleep though, mostly did after school on the rooftop, but the week has just been awesome.

Week 4 – Part 1/1

Days 25-31, 14.2.-20.2.

Not much happened in this week. On Monday (16.2) I went to the train station to search for train departures to Esfahan and Sari and for a possibility to buy tickets directly at the station, which is possible for rides of the same day. As I went off the metro I saw an Iranian ginger and could not let the opportunity of a photo pass. To get home I spent about two hours on the bus although it would have been only a 17km walk. But the traffic of Tehran is just insane.

On Tuesday (17.2) I accompanied Alexander, Anton (another Russian) and Anahit, who met in the Armenian Quarter with a friend of Anahit. The friend made a little tour around, but I didn’t understand nearly anything, since only Russian or Armenian was spoken.

On Thursday (19.2) I decided to go to an advertised music festival with Roman and Zhihui. Its name was Fajr (Northern Lights) Music Festival and took place in the centre. Since Roman didn’t feel well, I met with Zhihui alone. The concert, we didn’t know what it would be like, was at 8.30pm so we went for a kebab before. It was funny and because we laughed a lot everyone looked as us, mostly eating somehow sad themselves.
Then we walked to Vahdat Hall and tried unsuccessful how and where we could get tickets. The only thing we acknowledged was that there would be two concerts: One American Jazz band and an Iranian orchestra playing classical music. We decided to go, when possible, to the classical one.
Some minutes after eight we met some other students from our school and they told us we needn’t pay anything. But we went to the American Jazz band called Animation. Since 1977 it was the first being allowed to play in Iran, of course under the surveillance of Khomeini and Khamenei. However their style of Jazz wasn’t my taste and Zhihui went home after half an hour. We were not the only ones who thought that way, because many others pulled out their smartphone or started chatting, which was in my opinion very disrespectful towards the musicians.
Under applause they made the quite controversial statement, Iran would be the best country in the world. When the frontman said, they surely usually paid way more than local people, we foreigners were the only ones who laughed. But that the possibility of playing in Iran touched the band members deeply, was easy to recognize.
When the concert was over and we discussed it outside, we were quite strictly asked after 10 minutes to leave the ground. Our search for a taxi ended up in a little brawl. One offensive driver considered himself disadvantaged when we chose another one and slapped ours.
On Friday (20.2) I learnt for a little test the next day and only walked to Tochal cabin station to get some fresh air.