Thursday, 19 November 2009

Iran summary

Water: Bottled mineral water cheap and readily available. You can drink the tap water in most cities but it tastes earthy in desert areas.
Drinks: Beer - Various malty drinks (0.0% alcohol), a few actually taste like beer. Tea - black tea available everywhere. Coffee - less so.
Toilets: Mostly upright and squat in hotels, places to visit and trains. Squat only in public and cafe loos.
Rial (currently £1 = 15,000 rial).
Language: Farsi (Persian) both spoken and written - Salaam alaykum is hello and goes a long way. Most youngsters and those in the tourist trade speak some English.
TICs: Helpful with free local town maps and guides if available.
Accommodation: B&B is the norm
Food: Meat and chicken kebabs with rice and salad are common everywhere. Breakfasts are, more often than not, a fried egg, white cheese, butter, carrot jam (tastes better than it sounds) and honey with flat bread and black tea (Çay).
Supermarkets: Widespread but anonymous and hard to find, look for shopping trolleys in shop doorways.
Transport: Trains are cheap, comfortable and less than half the price of buses, 1st class sleepers especially so, book ahead if possible.
Buses are quicker but more expensive.
Medical: Good quality health care available, doctors will treat visitors for a fee.

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