The people of Iran was a surprise to me. They took contact, they wanted to talk with me, they were curious, they wanted to be taken picture of. Well, I have to modify that. When I think about this, it strikes me the people I had contact with were either young girls or older men.
We visited a palace quarter in Teheran (I have forgotten the name, but that is not important) at the same time as a school class of girls. The girls were curious and wanted to connect with us. Their English was almost non-existent so the communication were smiles and sign language.
We met another class with girls, 13-14 years old) In a museum in Tabriz and they were clearly glad to have contact with us. I have no idea how many pictures they took, some only of us and quite a lot with all of us mixed. Some of us were sitting in a small cafe at the museum and they wanted to sit with us to be taken pictures of. Two teachers followed them and I half expected them to stop the girls, but no, they actually encouraged them.
Here I noticed that all hair is not covered, so I started noticing how the young women wore their head wear. They all wore their hair in a pony tail like the girl in the middle in the picture above. Then they had their scarf as far back as they could on the pony tail, so it was definitely not a matter of covering the hair.
But the older women wore their dresses as we expected it, but I don’t think I saw a niqab in Iran, but many in Istanbul. Some girls put some colours and decor to their hijabs.
In the busy bazaar in Teheran i met this girl. She made sign to me that she wanted to take a picture of me, so I stopped. I took this picture of her while she made her camera/cell phone ready. Again she thanked me and I still don’t know why.
This man stopped me at Persepolis and wanted to talk. The first question was, as always: Where are you from?. Then: What do think about Iran? From this two questions we talked for a while, and he didn’t want to let me go. So I was the last man to the bus. (The girl has a cap.)
We had lunch in a small place in the middle of the chaotic bazaar in Tabriz. On my way out I was stopped by a man who clearly did not speak English. He first pointed at my camera and then on himself. I took it as he wanted to be taken picture of so I confirmed this by lifting my camera and pointed at him. He shook his head and pointed to a place where I should stand. He went over to a table where two other men sat and they made it clear that now I could take the picture. I did so and went over and showed it to them. They put their hands to their hearts and said: Thank you! I left but started thinking: Why did they thank me? They will never see that picture again. I was actually emotionally touched by this. I see pride and diginity in this picture.
This is a family I met at Persepolis. I smiled and said hello and got warm smiles back.