Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It’s that time of the year again when I fish my headscarf out from the bottom of the laundry basket to wash it ready for our yearly trip to Iran. It is also the time when we start looking to buy our plane tickets. This process usually has four stages: Stage one; ‘Enthusiasm’ as we search for a ticket cheaper than Iran Air, Stage two; 'Excitement' as we find numerous bargain tickets, Stage Three; 'Doubt' as we find each bargain ticket has something wrong with it (such as having a ten hour stopover in Venezuela), Stage Four; 'Surrender' = buying our tickets from Iran air.
At this moment in time we are still in Stage two; Excitement. We have found a few cheap tickets, the cheapest one of which is with Azal (Azerbaijan Airline) who claims it can fly a person from London to Iran and back for only 220 pounds. It really is a great bargain compared to the 405 pounds that Iran Air charges.
Some people are still a bit wary of travelling with Azal. It’s understandable as well. I mean if dog years are seven years to one human year, then country years are more like about one to sixty human years which makes Azarbaijan a very young baby or maybe even a foetus. Now I’m just as uncomfortable with having my plane flown by a baby as the next person, however I find that when it comes to saving nearly 400 pounds (for the both of us) suddenly my reasoning starts going something like this, ‘And exactly who says babies aren’t good at flying passenger planes?’
But seriously I think anyone who has ever flown with Iran Air and lived to tell the tale should really be able to fly with any other airline after that and think nothing of it.
I’m not saying their pilots are bad. No they’re really great actually. Service is good too and so is food (especially when they give baghali-polo). People are also very friendly. Especially if you’re a single girl with a British passport (in which case there is always someone with a son or nephew that wants to get married) or if you have made the mistake of travelling light (in which case some old biddy will make friends with you and then emotionally blackmail you into carrying all her five sacks full of fried aubergine and ghormeh herbs or Primark goodies, depending on whether she is flying in or out of Iran) the inflight entertainments are quite good too (it helps if you’re into watching weepy Iranian movies in different shades of green with dodgy headphones that keeping up with the green theme will replace the voices of all the actors in the film with Kermit the Frog’s).
In fact I only have one problem with Iran Air; I absolutely have no idea how those planes are still able to fly! The only logical explanation is that there is some sort of divine intervention at work there which explains all that collective mandatory praying you have to do as soon as you get on.
Even so, I would still willingly fly with them if only their tickets weren’t so bloody expensive. Because the way I see it, in the current state of affairs (with earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides and bird flu and with buses and tubes and planes and trains being blown up left and right) on board an Iran air plane on its way to Iran, is probably the safest place a person can be.
So once you get over the fact that the plane you are flying in, probably needed to be scrapped over ten years ago, then unlike all other airlines, you can just sit back and relax and never worry about the other passengers and if someone’s hat is going to start ticking or if someone is going to try to light their shoe or hijack the plane and fly it straight into the financial heart of Iran (the Tehran Bazaar I presume). You can just fasten your seatbelt and enjoy five hours of absolute bliss and total peace of mind.
Iran Air, because you’re worth it.




Click here to read an extract from Ilkhanan-eh Iran

PS I have updated the page for Ilkhanan-eh Iran (by Farokh Saramad) so if you are interested, you can now read a few pages from this hilarious book which I received this morning and have not been able to put down since! Baba, you’re a star :-)

20 comments:

Behrooz said...

What a long story! And what an interesting account of it. So you are heading to Iran? Have a very wonderful Norouz there.

Behrooz said...

And it so seems that you still need years of learing to get to some of your dady's humour and mastery!

AA said...

I've just ordered the book. Hope your dad could sign it for me!

;)

Dodo said...

I haven't flown with Iran-Air in what 6-8 years ? but I still remember the baghali-polo, they should really get out of the flying buisness and move onto the catering buisness. I would love to get onto southwest or other US/European/Asian carriers and get baghali-polo.
we really need to make this happen.

Gazankan said...

Shirin dear, where should one click to see the pages? would you make it a bit more obvious for those who are not experienced in these things? you may know that some even can't make a comment my friend.
By the way was I right about the safty measures or what?

Shirin said...

Yes you said it Behrooz; he’s pretty great ;-)

Wow that’s great AA :-) You will probably receive it about this time next week.

You’re right Dodo, all those other airlines (especially that stupid British Airways) should take a leaf out of Iran Air’s book and start serving some real food on their flights instead of that rubbish plasticy stuff they give people.

Gazankhan, just underneath the cover of the book on that same page, if you click on the big, bold and blue link that says, ‘Read an extract from this book’ you are taken to another page where you will be able to read some pages. I thought it was obvious but if you have any suggestions about making it clearer, please let me know.
Yes you were right Gazankhan ;-) and thanks a lot for warning me.

Anonymous said...

My dear I think before saying something, unlike my partner who just: says yes you are right or no you are right or no there's no problem. She tried for 15 minutes and couldn't find out how to and where she sould click to see what she wanted to see, and she knows somethings about these things unlike so many people here.So please, OK?

Foulla said...

Bon voyage!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that you have a British passport. I have two sons and 3 nephew who wants to get married. Can I introduce you to them while you are in Iran?

pomme Granite said...

So jealous. Really. I haven't been back since we left late in 79! Boyeh jooyeh moolian ayad hamee ...

Have a great time.

GazanKhan said...

Dear Shirin the problem is before that, how to reach there. when you get there it's of course obvious my friend. I know we must click on the book Cover and not on the class room but many don't know where to click.

Shadgoli said...

If you haven't bought your tickets, I'm pretty sure BA is cheaper.x

Shirin said...

Mr Anonymous NO1, I can’t apologize to you enough for having confused you and your better half like that for fifteen minutes. I hope I did not put your partner off surfing the net for life because I seriously couldn’t live with myself if I had done that. Next time I want to do something like this I will put a warning on it: ‘Only to be viewed by smarty pants computer whiz kids’ :-)
Anyway I’ve changed it a bit now so I hope it’s better.

Foulla, :-) cheers

Anonymous NO2, what a lovely and thoughtful offer. It’s a shame in Islam women can only have one husband or I would have married all five of them and would become a lady with six husbands. If you fancy marrying off some nieces and daughters however, maybe I could have a word with my husband for you about that. He has a British passport and all now. He could take on three of them as wives. The rest could become sigheh but I doubt they’ll get a passport that way. Anyway if you’re thinking of sorting out their Jahaz, we could definitely do with a fancy washing machine.

Oh Pomme that’s sad. I’ve been back almost every year since I’ve come here. I can’t even imagine not going back for so many years. Hope you get to go sometime soon.

I see what you’re saying Gazankhan. I’ve put another link down there now. I hope it helps. I had made the title of the book Ikhanan-eh Iran into a link but maybe that wasn’t clear enough.

I’ll have a look again Shadgoli but I really don’t think they have flights cheaper than 220 pounds. It’ll be brilliant if they do though.

Em said...

Ola

So have you decided which Airline you are flying on.

GazanKhan said...

Now any one can see that, thanks my friend.

M.S said...

My dear this morning the book was sent to Mr.A.A. But I'm sorry to say that it's not a very good business though because just the postage fare is seven thousand tumans for one book! let alone that vasted time in the post Office. What do you think?

Shirin said...

No Em we haven’t yet. In the Adl household these things are unusually done right at the last minute so we will have to wait for another couple of weeks :-)

That’s a relief Gazankhan. Thanks for your help.

I don’t really know M.S. I mean I’m neither making or losing any money or any time here so it’s really up to you. I could either put the price up or we could take the option of buying it online off altogether. Either way is fine by me really.

GazanKhan said...

That's very nice up there Shirin. who's pupet is it? I'm sure it's not an American pupet like some, it's a stand up guy no doubt.

Anonymous said...

I have already got the ticket for norous. we may end up on the same airplane! though i might not go at all since I am still very stressed with the studies...that would be very sad, my madarjun is calling all the time since she is expecting me and I havent been for two years, cry...
good holidays and lots of presents:)
marieh

Shirin said...

Thanks for noticing my little man up there Gazankhan and yes he is a stand up guy, he is just having a little trouble keeping his limbs together at the moment ;-)

Marieh, did you get your ticket with Azal? I really hope you make it there anyway. It’s great being in Iran for eid.