5 Mar

A Girl and Her Thumb

It’s after midnight and I’m still on the bus to Tehran. My telephone didn’t beep at all yet and I’ve nowhere to go when I get there. I’m frantically text-messaging three people – all of the people I met in Tabriz, my only contacts in the country – Do you know anyone in Tehran?

The bus breaks down.

A new bus comes. Strangers herd me onto it.

A man attempts to speak with me in halting English. I discover he, like most other people from the East Azerbaijan region of Iran, can speak Turkish – albeit a very different sounding Turkish than what the locals call ‘Istanbul Turkish’ – the kind I’m learning. I ask if he knows of a cheap hotel? What kind of place? He asks. “The cheapest”, I tell him. He says something I don’t understand and writes a phone number on a card for me.

I…

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