12 July 2015

Lazy Shiites

Today was supposed to be the big day, the Get-Out-of-Tehran Day. We got an early start and headed over to the foreigners police office with my passport receipt, expecting to collect my passport with its extended visa. After a little difficulty in locating the office we went inside, upstairs to the ”Visa Extension” window, where there was no queue, but unfortunately also nobody working. However, through the glass I could see that my passport was on the very top of the pile!

When someone did finally arrive to assist us, however, we soon learned that that was the ”passports waiting to be processed” pile my passport was at the top of, and not the ”passports ready to be picked up” pile. The guy explained that because I was American, my passport had to go to the Foreign Ministry to have the extension approved. OK, fair enough, but what exactly had they been doing with my passport in the six days since I dropped it off? It was just sitting there with my completed application form exactly as I had left it with them, apparently entirely untouched these past few days, except perhaps for an occasional dusting.

Mehdi went to plead my case with the Colonel in charge of the facility, but all he could do was to direct his staff to expedite having the passport sent to the Foreign Ministry. Back at the ”Visa Extensions” window, they promised to do so and told us to call at 14:00.

Back to the hotel. We talked to the front desk. The guy there knew someone at the Ministry. He spoke with him. He promised to expedite processing of my passport as soon as it arrived, but he could nothing until the police sent it over.

In the meantime, we did a get some good news — El Guapo arrived at the Khayyam Hotel in running order. I thanked the two young guys who drove him here, cleaned it up and re-organised a bit, and confirmed that nothing had gone missing. Connected the mains power in order to charge up the leisure battery and run the fridge.

I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to sample some of my caviar, so I went in search of supermarket in order to buy some bread and sour cream to eat it with. I went wandering the streets of Tehran in search of supermarket with no success. Asking for a ”supermarket” inevitably got me directed to some hole-in-the-wall shop selling basics. I decided to try Google, which reliably turned up a half-dozen ”supermarkets” in the area, although none was less than a few kilometres away. I took the metro two stops to the closest one and found it was just a little bigger than the tiny convenience stores I had already passed up, and I couldn’t find any sour cream. There was another a few blocks away, but it wasn’t much better. I decided to settle for some yoghurt with shallots, and something called ”breakfast cream.”. Stocked up on some other snacks in the continued belief I would be taking a long drive in the near future. On the way, I found a bakery cranking out fresh Iranian bread and bought a few sheets. Then took a taxi back to the hotel.

Mehdi was waiting and we called the police office around 13:40 (they had said to call at 14:00); however, no one answered and after a few tries we concluded they had left for the day.

Had some lunch and a nap; it’s a pity I have no chilled vodka to accompany it, but I think its time to dig into that caviar!


12 July 2015


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