When newspaper-reading friends first learnt of my plan to join a few retirees for a trip to Iran, their common reaction was: “Iran? You be careful huh.” As departure approached, I became slightly nervous about adventuring into Bush's “Axis of Evil”, braving a “yellow travel alert” dutifully echoed by the Hong Kong Government. I even considered buying insurance for the first time. However, anxiety was no match for my curiosity about the only other ancient civilisation which still thinks reasonably independently.
前阵子有几位退休朋友自己组团游伊朗，我立即报名参加。除了中国，当今世上还能基本上思想独立的文明古国就只有伊朗，非要看看不可。 但很多经常看报纸的朋友们知道之后，都面带忧色地警告我小心。“踏足美国的邪恶轴心非同小可，惟望三思而行。” 可惜退缩已经太迟，最后只有鼓起勇气，与家人拥抱道别之后，战战兢兢地登上飞机。
The immigration officer at Tehran’s Khomeini Airport looked rather international: indifferent and unwelcoming.
However, once outside the airport, I noticed something conspicuously different about the Iranian people. I reserved my judgement just in case. After two weeks of touring Southern Iran, I can now safely conclude that it’s the friendliest country I’ve ever been to by a huge margin; and I have done quite a bit of travelling in the past.
From Theran to the countryside, mosques to bazaars, bohemian Shiraz to religious Qom, ebullient coffee shops to the macabre Tower of Silence, Iranians of all ages, men and women, even soldiers and mullahs, would smile and salaam, enquiring where we were from if we just looked and nodded. “Mind if I take a picture?” we often asked. Not once was the request not cheerfully accepted. When lost in the streets of Iran, fellow pedestrians would spend as much time as necessary to help, making clarifying calls, even offering to show us the way.
Pictures smile better than words. I’d share some photos, and impressions of Iran over the next few days. Let’s take a look at George Bush's evil people, their landscape, markets, mosques, food, artifacts, and heroes.
A 7000 years old Demon casting a spell on W. 正在念毒咒危害布希的七千年妖魔
Vicious siblings, obviously 明显邪恶的兄妹
Woman suffocating kid in public 恶毒妇人在街头窒息女孩
A friendly Prince of Darkness I met on the Street, trying to show me the way to Eternal Damnation 街头碰上的邪恶巫师
W's Little Devils 布希的邪恶学生 （1）
More Little Devils! Run W! 更多的邪恶学生，布希还不快跑！ （2）
Evil students trying to point us in the wrong direction 分明作状指路的邪恶学生
Tourist, camera, and her human tripod 拍照游客与人肉三脚架
Counterfeit Mr. Bean in Yadz Bazaar 憨豆先生的伊朗爸爸
Architectural students with violent tendency 有暴力倾向的建筑系学生
Evil! A campaigning politician 邪恶小孩模仿拉票政棍
Look at his diabolical face W.! 看！看他的邪恶嘴脸！
Fiendish female students 心肠恶毒，笑里藏刀的女学生
Girl-eating Demon and dinner posing as grandpa and granddaughter 火云邪神与小妖精假扮两爷孙