Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Trip to Iran-Part III

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It was the third week of our stay in Iran that a cold front took over the country. I remember Nima and I were up to coming back from Shahi to Tehran that the snow begins and all of the major highways in the country closed.
Some cities had a snow up to 1.5m and some had around 20 centimeters. No one was ready for this storm. The highways were closed and several people got stuck in their cars. I heard in the news that several military cars sent to save peoples. Over 50 avalanches happened in two days over one of the most dangerous roads to Tehran (called Haraz road). I heard a number of people died and buried under the heavy snow but this is what I heard from the road drivers not the National news.
But worse that everything was at the middle of all this, several provinces didn’t have gas including ours. There were rumors about Turkmenistan stopped sending gas to the northern province of Iran (where my parents live) Mazandaran. But national TV said because of the sudden increase in gas consumption the pipeline networks can not afford carrying enough gas to allover the country. I don’t know what I should believe. I just knew people didn’t have gas with no previous warning about that.
They couldn’t use shower, they couldn’t cook, bake. Several bakeries were closed and only those who switched to gasoline could still provide bread (and obviously the breads were sold much more expensive). We were lucky since Mazandaran (the province that my parents live in) has almost mild winter comparing with several other provinces with -25 degree during the winter. We were worried about poor people in those areas without gas. It was like we back to the war time. The electric started being cut off periodically. The factories, school and universities were all closed. Even the entrance exam of universities for master degree was postponed to one month later. All international and national flights were cancelled for more than a week. Honestly the country was shut down.
What I learned was that in Iran people should be prepared for any unpredictable events and they should have no expectations from the government for help. When the storm happened everyone tried to save his own family. People tried to find substitute fuel such as oil, gasoline, or wood. There is no plan for emergency cases to help people. It’s just like you are really on your own save your life.
I am serious this is exactly what I learned When the gas went off and didn’t come back until three weeks later. Can you believe that people didn’t have gas for three weeks at the middle of winter? They found a solution themselves to cook to take a shower to warm up their houses without any major help from the government. I was thinking if one day the Tehran earthquake that everyone talks about, the one that should have come 150 years ago but still delayed. If that happen what would happen to Iranian with this government not ready for heavy snow.
Let’s look at the bright side as well. After the storm, snow covered every where when the sun came out many people went to jungles and parks for barbeque. Nima and I went to beautiful Nezami Jungle very close to Shahi city to enjoy the beauty of the snow. The weather was so fresh and every where was so gorgeous with snow. Enjoy the photos. I took these photos in my parents and my granny's garden.

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