On Iranian Order and Precision
If anything shouldn’t have surprised me, it would be how incredibly well-organized Iran was. After all, it’s what the Lebanese only half-jokingly say is proof that Hezbollah is Iranian: they are more structured and punctual than any Lebanese could ever be! And yet it did surprise me that it was so organized. Such a big country, so immense, with so many people, and with (from what I heard) such a bad economy? I would have excused them for having holes in the road, or electricity cuts. But none of that was the case. Even on the day we took what was marked on the map as a ‘small mountain road’, the car rolled smoothly over tight tarmac, kilometer after kilometer. Like this:
And not only that. The buses actually followed timetables, and people were aware of those. Smoking was forbidden in bars and other public buildings. There were public toilets almost everywhere, and drinking water fountains in every mosque, palace and station we visited. There were even places to charge your cell-phone, in case you forgot to do so before leaving for the mountain-park from which to watch over the city of Isfahan…
… or before getting on a plane. On long busrides, the bus would make a stop at a roadside restaurant for lunch, but on shorter trips we were often given a little lunch-box, complete with a cup for water or juice (also handed out) and a napkin:
On the train, this whole ‘taking care of passengers’ was taken to the next level when we found we not only had a pretty blue pillow and blanket with flowers, but we were also handed fresh sheets and pillowcases! Considering that this was the cheapest ticket (9 Euros for ± 500kms.), we were pleasantly surprised – even more so when the next morning, just minutes before arrival, we were handed a chocolate cake and a little juice-box for breakfast.
And the subway? That was simply amazing. Faster and cleaner than I’ve ever seen before (except maybe in Barcelona, but that was years ago, so my memory might fool me here).
(The only problem was actually getting on the subway-cars, because with around 8 million people in the capital, those were almost always packed like tuna-cans. This picture was taken at one of the last stations on line 1, the first time we actually saw the floors…).
However, it wasn’t only the organization and structure I admired in Iran. It was the precision. Whenever we were lost, all I had to do was look at my cell-phone to know the name of the nearest landmark or a main avenue or expressway close-by:
Of course I saved the best for last: quite possibly the most precision-oriented can of soda I have ever seen in my life. Behold the honesty on a can of Coca-Cola, made in Iran:
We have tried to put 330ml in this can, but it could be 8.25ml more or less... and to think we consider ourselves nitpicky and precise here in Holland!