Saturday, October 18, 2003

True Story!

Once upon a time in Tehran, there was a consul of a small European country called M. M used to throw big parties, and drive down Jordan giving out invitation cards to any pretty girls, and he didn't know most of the people at his parties. At one of his parties one night, he noticed some people out on his verandah smoking grass. He went out and said hello, and one of the guys turned to him and introduced himself to M, and said "Oh by the way, this is my party!!!"

Nojavan recently revealed he isn't human at all - he's from Jupiter. I have a surprise confession too, I'm not human either, I'm a pig. But from hanging around humans so much, I have learned to walk on two legs like those in "Animal Farm" and I really enjoy human food so much more than what I used to eat. Here's some pictures of what I've been porking out on lately.

Last night I went to Borj-e-Sefid restaurant for dinner. I put my bag down and fifteen minutes later I reached down for it to get my camera out for pictures. But it was about 10 feet away!! My companions reminded me that it's a revolving restaurant. Here's a view of Pasdaran from downstairs:

And here is some of the food I and my fellow pigs ate. Jever tastes much like normal beer. Here it was 2150 tomans for the can, which is quite high... but this was the restaurant where you could have caviar for your appetizer (29900 tomans for 70g) or book ostrich meat in advance (~11500 tomans).

Yesterday lunch, I went to Taj Mahal restaurant.

Wednesday night, I went to Penguin restaurant near Enqelab Square.

And a bit before that, I went to Ladybird restaurant near Shemshak. Surprise, a fellow diner paid for all three of us, being deeply in love with my friend's twin sister. My friend interpreted that as a "gentlemanly" act I think, I am concerned about how "gentlemanliness" is often connected here with the willingness of the man to pay. But maybe more on that later.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I just finished reading the report. It's worth 100 political English weblogs by people in Iran. It's so difficult to get a quality ranking on information on the Internet, but trust me, this is the best there is about the Iranian situation now. It captures everything I could possibly say. I kept saying something like "Right On!" all the time, it is all so true, unlike so much neo-con reporting, (glad Ledeen's shut up recently though) wishful-thinking (cough NITV, cough SMCCDI)-type reporting, this is all objective, all factual.

It's the product of people who've interviewed people in Iran over a long period of time, not just foreign journalists who jet in and out. That's why ICG analysts are so highly paid.

One caution though, foreign diplomats here can be pretty out of touch. I've been to this one Western consul's parties a lot and he earns an order of magnitude more than I do. Of course he's out of touch with what ordinary people think, it can't possibly be otherwise.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Iran: Discontent and Disarray. The International Crisis Group's report is finally here!

Just a comment on the title... a veteran Afghanistan traveller spoke about Afghan culture...

"Western policy strives to find a unity of order in Afghanistan; however, the prevailing trend is a unity of chaos. Used to order westerners see chaos as failure. It is an alternate system alien to western thought, but that does not mean it cannot work."

It must be some kind of updated "noble savage" theory. Chaos is failure, come and look at the traffic here, look at the traffic death rate 10 times the US. "Organized chaos" is everywhere, things happening at the last minute, Iran can't compete... OK too much politics, back to everyday life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Peace prize is not very important - Khatami. After six years, it's not possible to distinguish between him and the hardliners.