We were like rock stars in Iran

Imagine you wake up in the morning, quit your job, have your backpack, and travel to the other side of the world without expecting to come back. That’s what the couple Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott did 7 years ago.
From that time on, they have visited more than 80 countries. This couple earns the money to travel by sharing their experiences on their weblog “Unconcerned Market” and other social networks.

One can find a lot of information about the attractions, food, and cultures of these countries in their weblog.
Their last adventure was to go to Iran. They had a two-week tour with “G Adventure” tour and a week with a personal tour guide.
Here’s their interview with “Iran Wire":

- What’s your general opinion about Iran and Iranians?
--- We were totally impressed by the hospitality of Iranians everywhere. Besides, historical attractions, architecture and history are impressing.

- Where did you go?
--- In the first two weeks we visited Tehran, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Ahwaz, Susa, Shiraz, Yazd, Isfahan and Abiyaneh and then we got back to Tehran again with “G Adventure” tour. The next week, we went to Rasht, Masuleh, Ardebil, Tabriz, and Kandovan with our personal tour guide. And then we took the Tabriz-Istanbul train which was a 60-hour trip.

- How did you see Hijab? Was it contradictory to your beliefs? How did it affect your trip?
--- Hijab was no problem for me as it was a respect to Iranian’s culture, rules and customs. When we were in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan I used to wear scarf to protect my skin from the sun, therefore I was more like other women. I had the same experience in Egypt and Jordan. However, my experience in Iran was quite different as Hijab was not optional for me but it did not have any effects on my trip. Talking to Iranian women and listening to their complaining about the compulsory Hijab made me understand them more. Thus, I was happy I was born in a free country where I have the freedom of choice.

- In your published article “Americans’ trip to Iran: Whatever you need to know about Iran”, you mentioned that most Iranians got surprised when they understood Americans need visa to enter Iran. In you opinion how much do Iranians know about Americans and people of other countries?
--- A lot of Iranians have relatives in America and Europe; therefore they know a lot about these countries. The people who did not have anyone abroad also were really interested to know about us so they asked a lot of questions.

- What was the most frequent question Americans ask from you when you got back?
--- “Wasn’t it dangerous?”. The people of the US only see Iranians in the news or they just see politicians giving speech on TV. They really do not know the people’s lives out of media. That’s why our friends were surprised when they heard we were like rock stars in Iran and people paid lots of attention. We told them that strangers invited us to their houses for tea or even bought us gifts.

-You talked about people's friendly manners, but did you face any aggressions or criticizes against the US?
--- The only time we were bothered was the time we were walking in the Bazar of Tabriz to eat lunch; we understood that two members of the military were behind us. They stopped us and wanted to see our passports, but our tour guide made them understood that it was not necessary and they immediately apologized. But that was it. We were totally fine. Besides, we used to talk to people and agree with the fact that governments do not represent people.

-Did you talk about politics, filtrations, and sanctions to people or was it taboo to talk about it?
--- We never started the conversations about the politics; we let the Iranians start these kinds of topics. We talked about politics, filtrations, homosexuality, and religion. We usually talk about these issues with the absence of our tour guide when people were more comfortable.

-In one of your photos, you are in a mosque, in your opinion which cities were the most religious? Did you meet people having religions other than Islam?
We thought that Isfahan was more religious than other cities and we heard that Ghom was the most religious one. We didn't talk much about other religions. It was interesting to see that a group of students were brought to see a church in Isfahan by their school teacher. And we heard from one the Jews that their population is decreasing because they do not feel safe here.

-Where did you like the most? And what is your best memory?
Our top 3 places: Shiraz, which has beautiful historical buildings and outstanding mosques with unbelievably friendly and warm people. Persepolis, which impressed us with the breathtaking architecture and the rich culture. And Northwest of Iran specially Tabriz and St. Stepanos Armenian Monastery.