November 22, 1961 – Iran

Sina Hotel, Teheran, Iran – Clear

     Once again Edith and I got up early to go to the airport and rushed down to the dining room so we could have a real breakfast before it was time to leave.  However once we were seated and gave our order to the waiter, he seemed to forget about us after he wrote our order down.  Everyone in our group got their coffee or tea but only a few were served their meal before it was time to leave.  When Curt called out it was time to leave we had to cancel our order and leave without eating.  We were told it would take quite awhile to get to the airport so we couldn’t wait.  All in all I felt like it was a disappointing start to the day.

      Once we arrived at the airport we only had a few minutes till it was time to board the fight that was to leave at 10:30am.  Once we were in the air our two hour flight was pleasant and not very long compared to some others we’d taken.  From the air we had a wonderful view of the Tigris River as we flew into Baghdad.  I was glad that it didn’t take very long to get our luggage and pass through customs before we were taken to our hotel.  I was very hungry and anxious to eat since we hadn’t had breakfast or been given anything on our flight.

Tigris River in Iraq from Plane

      The Baghdad Hotel our home for the next few days turned out to be very nice and overlooked the Tigris River.  Our view was terrific, the towels and sheets were pure linen and they felt so magnificent.  Our service checking in and during lunch was truly impeccable.  The menu offered choices that could only be found in the most gourmet restaurant and all for a reasonable price so as I ordered my mouth began to water.  Once the food arrived it was so good I ate too much so all I wanted to do afterward was sleep instead of tour. 

      As we gathered in the lobby to board our bus Curt told us he wanted to introduce us to our guide for Iraq – Ahmed.  Ahmed had been with the tour agency for several years he told us and he said he would show several interesting places over the next few days.  He informed us that the people in his country would be happy to have us there but that most were primitive so they would not respond well to our taking their picture.  He cautioned us to be very careful of who, where and when we took pictures.

      Several of us thought of additional questions to ask Ahmed but eventually we climbed aboard our bus to start our tour.  I found the warnings interesting since this was the first time we’d been told anything like this despite some places being as primitive as here.

      Our afternoon sightseeing took us first to the Golden Temple which was interesting but then we moved onto Al Kadhimiya Mosque.  Both were amazing structures and I found only subtle differences in architecture between here and what we’d seen in Iran.  While I found the temple and mosque were very impressive I restrained myself from taking many pictures with people in them so I didn’t create a problem. 

Baghdad

Baghdad Golden Temple

Al Kadhimiya Mosque in Baghdad

      After we left the temple we drove around looking at the streets and market places which was enjoyable.  Driving around I saw school children walking home.  The girls wore black caps that covered them from head to toe and they looked strange.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t very hot especially when it was summer.  I felt sorry that they had to dress in such a manner. 

Baghdad Street Scene

Another View of Baghdad Street

Tigris River in Baghdad

      Baghdad seemed to be a country of such beautiful people, especially the children.  I loved looking at their faces although we couldn’t see those of the women except for their eyes.  We saw many men that Ahmed identified as being sheiks that had a distinctive outfit.  I noticed they had cloaks and daggers.  Some of them, with their weapons looked so vicious that I knew I wouldn’t want to meet one of them on a dark street in the middle of the night. 

      Overall I found the city had its own particular beauty and an interesting ancient history although the modern times seemed fascinating too.  I was glad we’d had a chance to drive around to see a little of the city.  I wondered how the city would grow, advance and develop in the years to come. 

      I was glad when we returned to the hotel because I wanted to have a chance to clean up before dinner.  I decided to take out a few things since we would be staying here for a few more days and I wanted to hang out some of my dresses to get rid of their wrinkles. 

      Dinner came and went but once again it was a fantastic gourmet meal and I ate too much.  The waiters were truly attentive and they made me feel like a queen with all their attention.  They pulled our chairs out for us, laid our napkin on our lap, filled up our glass of water any time we took the littlest of sip and did a million other little services for us.  There were even lemon slices in the water.  I came away from eating having a very high impression of Iraq.

      I was glad when Flo suggested that Edith and I join her and Curt for cards after dinner in the public area.  We continued to have waiters and people attend to our needs while we played and they made us feel truly special.  When we finally retired for the night, Edith and I were both ready to sleep.

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