Thursday, May 08, 2003

Thursday, the first day of the weekend. The Tehran International Book Fair is on, and I had cards to buy books to the value of 100,000 tomans. The books are subsidised to the rate of about 300 tomans to 1 US dollar, whereas the usual exchange rate is 800 tomans to the dollar. Building 44 is where the new English books are, nothing older than 2001. Building 41A is older books.

So, I was feeling lazy, so I took a private taxi there (1600T).
All the stalls were full of people, except

"The Institute for the Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works"...
which was surrounded by Cambridge University Press, Phaidon, and Gale Group. Today, it ended up that I bought three books, all from Routledge. Iranian History and Politics, usually US$90 but today 31800 tomans ($US38.87); English-only Europe? (about $US10), and Religion Without God.

You see, we have freedom in Iran! You can buy books about atheism now, despite the regulations that say nothing contrary to Islam can be sold. There are two big reasons why: (1) it's not in Farsi, it's in English and (2) the TIBF is a unique event, many things change - taxi fares can be multiplied many times, for example.

On the way home I stopped by Tam Tam Pizza near Tajrish Square. This is where young couples go to intertwine hands and feet and flirt with each other. A disturbing number of Iranian young women smoke now. I don't find this attractive.

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