Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran!
Now, I’m not sure how I came across this image, but I think it had something to do with looking at a map of Santiago’s metro system, and one thing led to another, as is often the case. Suddenly I was looking at the Wikipedia page devoted to Tehran, and the pictures, especially the one above, really caught my eye. “Weird,” I thought. “That’s what I’d imagine some place like Salt Lake City would look like.” But in fact, Salt Lake City looks like this:
So what’s my point? That cities dominated by different branches of right-wing fundamentalist politics can deceive our stereotypes? Well, that’s part of it. But I also think that there’s something to be said about these stereotypes themselves. After all–be honest here–how many of you, if asked to form associations upon hearing the words “Tehran” or “Iran,” would have come up with something positive? How many would have thought of Ahmadinejad, or terrorists, or Arabs, or dusty deserts? I, for one, probably would have.
Yet here we have a picture that shows us that despite our preconceived notions of our world, the home of our supposed enemy doesn’t look that scary after all… in fact, it looks like a pretty nice place to go on a resort vacation and get in some quality time by the fireplace after a long day of skiing.
So, if anyone’s headed to Iran any time soon for a bit of tourism, give me a call. I’ll bring my curiosity, my camera and, of course, my snow boots.
PS: Interestingly enough, according to this site’s Clustrmap, Sitzblog has even had one visitor from Iran! (Scroll down on the page that opens to see individual country statistics)
(Both pictures copyright-released and available on Wikimedia Commons)