The world never ceases to amaze me. Of all places to be pro-American… Iran.
And by pro American, I mean that people are genuinely happy to see you when you show up.
This isn’t some far-out exaggeration or a claim made from a few positive experiences during my time here. In my 3.5 weeks of traveling through this country, it’s been a consistent force of hospitality that can’t be avoided or ignored.
Never mind the B.S.: the myopic viewed government, or the down with America shenanigans… Most of those fireworks are a stance against American politics, and not the people.
Coming upon realities like this in the world is like winning an unexpected prize, except the gift is much more meaningful and visceral than anything material.
To be western and European is a good thing. To be an American in Iran is an exceptional thing.
I tested this hypothesis often. Since I’m here on an Italian passport, I would sometimes say I was Italian. The response was usually very positive.
When I would tell that same person afterward that I was American, the response amplified, and the vibrations increased; people lit up with widened eyes and genuine excitement.
Unfortunately, Americans need to have a tour guide for visiting Iran, but I met one American who was on a long leash, and had the mobility at times to walk the streets alone, and choose his itinerary. So it’s still worth coming here.
Let’s get it straight though; Iranians, on the whole, are friendly to all tourists. Potential exceptions are:
-If you’re Arab and especially Saudi
-The Israelis can’t come here; I’m sure there would be a more-guarded reception to them if they could.
-If you’re Asian. I’m not saying Iranians aren’t friendly to Asians, but on the whole, the culture doesn’t aspire to anything Asian.
Sure there are close-minded people that won’t like you for being American. But this demographic is very small, and I never came into contact with it. You’ll find more of that mindset in western Europe.
If you want to feel what it’s like to be famous, this is the place. Once people start taking pictures, other people from the periphery will often chime in with their cameras. Sometimes this process can last a while.
There is a bubbling curiosity about America, and I’ve heard many times that our people are similar. In many respects we are; people are typically outwardly open in both countries.
And there’ s a lot of nostalgia among older Iranians for the past when Iran and America were close political allies.
If you are looking for a more adventurous and rewarding travel experience, I strongly recommend you consider coming here. Especially since American/Iranian relations are currently such a hot topic; you will learn a lot.
If you want to feel warmly received as an American, I recommend that you fly over western Europe, and a bit further to Iran.
It will blow your mind 🙂
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