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Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter's back, alright!

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18 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

yep, not going over the wall at a full sprint would probably help tons.  Unfortunately, the message to slow down  keeps getting lost somewhere between my brain and my legs :D 

 

Walking while in a bridge?  And you didn't die until the end of the corridor?  Amazing!

Haha I wish I had a bit more of that attitude. For me it often takes a lot of coaxing to commit myself to do things at full speed/power. It's taking time to build confidence in my movement. But that's ok.

 

:D Honestly I'm surprised I got as far as I did! It's not difficult but it does take a bit of endurance.

 

17 hours ago, Tobbe said:

 

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This is SO fun to do to creep people out. :lol:

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23 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

walked the length of the corridor in a bridge

Oh, so cool!

I'm wondering if I could do that, given that the thought of "move your weight towards your arms" is already so difficult to execute - my brain doesn't seem to know where my arms or my legs are anymore. I would probably crumble in a messy pile of limbs, but it's probably worth trying.

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3 minutes ago, zenLara said:

Oh, so cool!

I'm wondering if I could in fact do it, given that the thought of "move your weight towards your arms" is already so difficult to execute - my brain doesn't seem to know where my arms or my legs are anymore. I would probably crumble in a messy pile of limbs, but it's probably worth trying.

Walking is ok for me, but TURNING is such a mind twister!

 

And yes it's always worth trying! :D

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So it's almost midnight and new challenge is starting soon. Better write up that travel report I promised! :lol: 

  • Day 1 we arrived in Tehran. The entry went remarkably smoothly (recall the visa clusterfuck), right until it was my turn to go through passport control when the visa system spontaneously combusted. After that a few hours followed by "ok, try now, we rebooted the system yet again". Luckily I was with my friend M who could speak to them because it probably would've been a little stressful otherwise not knowing exactly what was going on. But everyone was very friendly and helpful and we did the only thing we could do, chilled out and chatted and waited. 
  • The drive from the airport somehow reminded me of Poland, even if the environment was obviously very different, there was something about the slightly WIP vibe that brought back memories. That feeling continued when we arrived at M's family's place, everyone was so very welcoming and since we couldn't really communicate verbally, we communicated through the universal language of... food haha. It was like coming home to my grandma, I constantly got thing to try which of course I absolutely loved. I would tell you what but I have no idea what I ate or drank, but it was good! 
  • The first few days continued along that vein. Went to a dinner party one day, which despite the language barrier was kinda fun. For one thing the food was great, but it's also really interesting to observe the family dynamics without understanding what is being said. I always find it so interesting that despite cultural differences it doesn't matter where you are in the world, you still get the same family interactions everywhere. The caring mother, the uncle that won't shut up about politics, the cute kid getting all the attention... 
  • I don't have any pictures from Tehran really, except this one from the rooftop which happened to amuse me. M's husband was saying how this used to be the very edge of the city, now it's expanded so much that it's pretty central, and keep in mind that Tehran is hyyouuuuge. When he was a kid he had a full view of the mountains on two sides of the building, which are spectacular btw, now it's all buildings. He also mentioned that this building is "really old", and put it at maybe 40 years, which to me is kinda crazy.
  • H-x8O23TJcWChqnuESEU-2OSFnzpug-GKDK9W6rW
  • We also did a bit of exploring the city, we strolled through parks, ate ice cream, and we visited the incredibly shiny Golestan palace. I always try to keep an open mind and not expect too much when I'm traveling, but one thing did not meet expectations was that it felt less chaotic than I thought it would be. As in sales people were not aggressive, traffic was calmer, things like that. Admittedly traffic was probably calm simply because it seemed to be at a standstill half the time haha.
  • I have to say that if there's one thing that puts me off is car cities, and the pollution it brings. After a few days I was SO ready to go to the mountains. On one of the days where we were driving for a particularly long time I actually felt sick from breathing in fumes. One gets a little sensitive living in Finland where the absolute worst polluted parts of the city have an AQI of 30. 
  • Then our road trip started! The first stop was as I mentioned in the mountains. I usually fall asleep pretty much instantly when in a car, but the scenery was so stunning I kept awake for once. I just adore the seemingly endless mountains.

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  • We arrived that the guest house pretty late and since we hadn't actually booked anything M wanted to take a look first to see if the place was acceptable. I thought the rooms were fine, my only concern was whether it would get cold at night. That lead to a whole big negotiation, and somehow, I still don't understand it, M managed to rent the owner's entire private home, kicking him out to sleep in one of the rooms for rent, all for the same price as one of the rooms haha. I'm still amazed. It actually ended up my favourite places to stay as it was really interesting to see what a traditional mountain home looks like. 
     

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  • This room here was particularly great. The furniture in the middle is a table with a heater underneath it, so you sit on the floor covered in all the blankets and stick your legs under the table and it's all suuuper cozy and toasty and very communal. Even if we had two bedrooms at our disposal we actually ended up all of us sleeping on the floor in this room. It was great, like a slumber party, chatting away about nonsense, having deep discussions, eating too much food... Speaking of the thing on the table was very tasty, it was a sweet bread thing with a walnut filling that we got from some woman on the side of the road. 
  • The next day we hiked up to the ruins of Alamut castle (assassins!). It was very cool. We didn't have great luck with the weather, in fact it SNOWED on the way back, but I loved the dramatic landscape. I had a nasty cough for most of the trip and I couldn't breathe very well, which made the hike a little painful and made me realize just how terrible my cardio is and that maybe one day I should do something about it haha.

 

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  • Then we continued our trip south for a 180 landscape turn. We went to the desert city Kashan, which was awesome. It's got such interesting architecture and lots of places to explore. In fact this rich merchant's house was a great place to visit. I often get a little antsy going to museums, but this house was made to explore. There were so many nooks and crannies and whenever you thought you'd seen everything there was more to see. Also the parkour potential! What I also really appreciated was how they built the houses in the desert to stay cool, but how it also made for very beautiful architecture as a result. Very cool stuff.

 

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  • We also visited this pretty mosque. We got a little lecture by one of the religious dudes there (I forget the title), a bit on the architecture and symbolic details which was marginally interesting, but then he veered off on tangents about education and religious schools. Let's just say this was one of the actually few times where I felt I had force myself to shut up instead of doing what I usually do which is blurting out my opinions without a filter haha.

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  • Next on the list was this fancy garden/summer palace thing. What I found most interesting was that there was a system of fountains and little pools and "waterways" criss crossing the entire garden, and apparently it was designed to not need any pumps at all. (Until they did some "repair" work recently and screwed it all up) Well I thought it was cool. 

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  • We also travelled out to the desert proper we rolled down sand dunes, OMG SOOOOO FUUUUN and watched the sunset. Amazing.

 

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This is why it's good to be able to sleep on the floor haha. Actually there's no point to this picture really, I just thought it was cute and for me it reminds of what made the trip so good, which to hang out and bond with my friends. It was quite special. We chatted a lot about cultural differences, and transitioning between them, and growing as people and from one of those conversations I got one of my most treasured compliments ever. M's husband was saying that since moving to Finland, M has become so much happier and freer and confident in herself and to large extent it's thanks to me. <3 Not that I've done anything special, let's be real it's just me talking BS in the kitchen and being stubbornly myself. But it makes me incredibly happy that I've had even a tiny bit of positive influence on someone and helped however indirectly. I just wanted to write that down so I don't forget.

 

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 Our last stop of the trip was Abyaneh, a very old and beautiful mountain village with excellent parkour possibilities. (One track mind much haha?)
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  • M was extremely slow in taking pictures, so at one point I had moved quite far ahead of everyone and ended up sitting on a rooftop, soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the view and listening to the prayer. It was somehow an incredibly beautiful personal moment. Here's a little soundbite, you'll have to imagine the rest.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPOpNHAMp1_QNHaFiGrUx8w5vK1kaAPZf9co-RIYSpSzreQBuzLWxflPmWfG_kNMQ/photo/AF1QipPMVeTjCrNnrqYFV9uOwWhNOrGeKnQatwK61nXI?key=eS1DVTVsMV8ySElKLWwwbGhTWWs3Zlp5WGtEVUxn

  • On our way back we made a pitstop back in the very pretty bazaar in Kashan for some shopping. A lot of the details echoed the details in the mosque and I thought it was cool how it was very similar in one way but how the atmosphere is obviously very different.

 

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  • Btw It's so empty because we got there a bit before opening time. I was pretty desperate for coffee and found this awesome place just outside the bazaar. I really, really loved the old school, working crafts people vibe, it was truly like being transported to a different time and a different world. There's just something about all the doors haha.

 

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  • And then it was time to go back to Tehran, do some food shopping and say bye to M's family and thank them for their extreme generosity in inviting me to their home for food and letting me stay there and all of that. I stayed in Iran for 10 days but I feel like I barely scratched the surface. It was such a fun, interesting trip, and I'm really grateful for my friends who did a great job in hosting and showing me around and taking care of me. In fact I've never had such a relaxing vacation, I literally had to do nothing except showing up haha! It was also neat so go to a place that is (largely) not infested with tourists, it made for a very genuine experience. Plus the food was amazing. Truly one of my favourite trips ever, 10/10!
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What a great write up! Thanks for sharing :)  You're a very good story teller! Both the text and the photos were very interesting.

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Aahhh thanks for taking the time to share. Lovely read! I'm so happy you had a great time and your pics are beautiful.

 

10 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

 Let's just say this was one of the actually few times where I felt I had force myself to shut up instead of doing what I usually do which is blurting out my opinions without a filter haha.

:lol:

 

I found the bonding bit interesting. Maybe it just happened to be your context and not necessarily connected to my own xp, so I don't really want to generalise, but let's say that I found that relationships with people were much tighter / bond-inducing than say in Scotland or France. People are much warmer including to strangers.

It is a very endearing country, despite all the bad press it gets. I'm not saying that to minimise the sh** that happens because that is also a reality but it is also an amazing country that really deserves to get better known.

That little table with heating is very very traditional. Ha ha that reminds that the first time I heard about it was when I was explained a swear word. Maybe M. already told you and/or you can check with her if there is more to it (I'm always curious for these nuggets of info), but what I heard is that people used to gather around that table (kursi) to tell stories, poems (shehr)... And it seems the youth got annoyed like they do in other places with lengthy sometimes boring rituals where people can talk a lot but say nothing really (e.g. the traditional family Sunday meal). So saying “kursi shehr” has now evolved into a swear word that means bullshiting about basically :D 

 

10 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

We chatted a lot about cultural differences, and transitioning between them, and growing as people and from one of those conversations I got one of my most treasured compliments ever. M's husband was saying that since moving to Finland, M has become so much happier and freer and confident in herself and to large extent it's thanks to me. <3 Not that I've done anything special, let's be real it's just me talking BS in the kitchen and being stubbornly myself. But it makes me incredibly happy that I've had even a tiny bit of positive influence on someone and helped however indirectly.

 

That is indeed a great compliment :) Am I correct that M is also the one who made a comment on how strength training is changing her body perception and that also thanks to you?

 

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13 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

M's husband was saying how this used to be the very edge of the city, now it's expanded so much that it's pretty central, and keep in mind that Tehran is hyyouuuuge.

That's kind of how things are in Beijing as well.  When I first moved here I lived right at very edge of the city (literally nothing but trees north of us).  That complex now is considered part of downtown.

 

13 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

The furniture in the middle is a table with a heater underneath it, so you sit on the floor covered in all the blankets and stick your legs under the table and it's all suuuper cozy and toasty and very communal.

Those where everywhere when I lived in Japan.  There they are called Kotatsu and I have never seen them anywhere else so I always assumed they were a Japanese thing.  Very interesting to see them common in Iran as well :) 

 

Loved the update and especially all of the pics.  Now I really want go there :D 

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20 hours ago, Tobbe said:

What a great write up! Thanks for sharing :)  You're a very good story teller! Both the text and the photos were very interesting.

Thank you! I really appreciate it, my writing skills are not great so I'm glad that at least the stories are coming through. :) 

 

11 hours ago, @mu said:

I found the bonding bit interesting. Maybe it just happened to be your context and not necessarily connected to my own xp, so I don't really want to generalise, but let's say that I found that relationships with people were much tighter / bond-inducing than say in Scotland or France. People are much warmer including to strangers.

Yes they really are! Especially compared to Sweden where it's really difficult to make connections if you're the new one. Of course I don't speak the language and didn't stay for very long so I can't to say how it would be to integrate, all I could say that they were very warm towards me. :) 

 

11 hours ago, @mu said:

 It is a very endearing country, despite all the bad press it gets. I'm not saying that to minimise the sh** that happens because that is also a reality but it is also an amazing country that really deserves to get better known.

Couldn't agree more, and I'm so glad I got to experience at least a bit of it.

 

11 hours ago, @mu said:

So saying “kursi shehr” has now evolved into a swear word that means bullshiting about basically :D 

Hahaha brilliant, didn't know that :lol:

 

8 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

That's kind of how things are in Beijing as well.  When I first moved here I lived right at very edge of the city (literally nothing but trees north of us).  That complex now is considered part of downtown.

 

Those where everywhere when I lived in Japan.  There they are called Kotatsu and I have never seen them anywhere else so I always assumed they were a Japanese thing.  Very interesting to see them common in Iran as well :) 

 

Loved the update and especially all of the pics.  Now I really want go there :D 

Ruins the view but good for house value I guess?

 

Cool! They're awesome. 

 

I'd highly recommend it!

 

The rest of the photos are here btw :) 

 

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPOpNHAMp1_QNHaFiGrUx8w5vK1kaAPZf9co-RIYSpSzreQBuzLWxflPmWfG_kNMQ?key=eS1DVTVsMV8ySElKLWwwbGhTWWs3Zlp5WGtEVUxn

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11 hours ago, @mu said:

That is indeed a great compliment :) Am I correct that M is also the one who made a comment on how strength training is changing her body perception and that also thanks to you?

Missed a reply, yes that is the same person. :) She's awesome.

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On 5/27/2019 at 11:56 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Those where everywhere when I lived in Japan.  There they are called Kotatsu and I have never seen them anywhere else so I always assumed they were a Japanese thing. 

We had them too in southeast spain. It's kind of lost now, but when I was a kid every house had this round table at home, which we call tendur, which was covered with a warm blanket and kept a heater under it. So warm, I loved it. It has slowly disappeared as houses have began to have actual heating.

 

Thank you so much for the travel report, Mad Hatter! Pictures are lovely! When you mentioned the Alamut castle you brought me straight into my teen years, when I used to read Berling's historical novels.

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