Monday, June 25, 2012

Simple Iranian Salad: The highlight of the meal

I was nine years old when I visited Iran for the first time. We stayed there for about a month. Coming from industrialized, deserted Kuwait, this was the first time in my life that I see mountains, rivers, flowers and greens as far as the eye can go. I never experienced such a beauty before, it was like stepping into a fairytale , a story or a movie. For most of you that may seem like an ordinary/everyday scene but we really didn't get to see these things except in  movies and read about them in poems.

My brother looking at the street shops near our hotel

On the way to the Haram ( the holy shrine of Imam Ridda) in Mash'had, streets are full of small shops selling everything from ripe, delicious fruits and vegetables, Bastani (traditional Persian ice-cream) , aromatic spices, colorful dresses and hijabs, freshly cut meat, jewelry and gemstones, books, souvenirs  and everything in between.

The streets leading to the Holy Shrine, so busy and packed with people 24 hours a day

I entered the sanctuary of Imam Ridda, and everything ; all the noise from the street, people talking, beggars begging, women fighting who to enter first, kids crying: everything seems to get quiet…I am in the Holy Shrine of the Imam…where wishes are granted and quests are answered…..such a peaceful place…yet full of energy.

Very blurry image, but the  blue dome of the Mosque near the Holy Shrine is visible
A car that has been parked near my Granma's apartment in Mash'had for ages

After we are done from our prayes and dua's, we take a taxi to the many restaurants in Mash'had. Dinner is as usual ; hot delicious saffron rice with some butter melting on top,  grilled marinated meat or chicken kabob, and soft drinks. But it wasn't  that that I always looked was the small things…the appetizers they bring even without  ordering them: Mass' O Moussir ( thick tangy yogurt with mountain garlic) , freshly baked Barbari bread and this salad ( fresh ripe vegetable with some kind of a mayonnaise  dressing). We would actually be half full by the time the real dinner arrives.

Mariam trying out Chador at a fiend's house

Iran was so cheap at that time. We felt instantly so rich because we could afford things  we couldn't back home. We could ride on first class airplanes and trains, and we probably would have afford the whole candy store by our place with only our weekly allowance.

Unfortunately I don't have many pictures to show you. The few pictures here are from 4 years ago when I last visited Iran with my family. I will make sure though that I don't' miss any photo opportunity the next time I am there, which I pray not to be too long from now.

What's your most memorable vacation?

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