Zoe Mendelson is traveling the world, talking to friends and strangers about the messy, wonderful business of love. They do anything for their ladies,” one of the men agreed. ” “But really,” she continued, “the boys are much softer and the girls are getting more powerful because they think their rights were underestimated through history. In our culture, which is ancient, the women have a lot of sway,” the woman explained.
Our series Love in Far Off Lands tracks her journey, highlighting the best of her encounters. “Yep,” the woman began, “If you’re a girl, you get to decide how much you’re worth.” Now there’s a sentence that inverts the American conception of women in Iran. My grandmother walks around with a whip and my grandfather is basically not allowed to talk. Iranian culture is almost but not quite matriarchal. One of the men elaborated, explaining that modern Iranian women are the embodiment of a “hard core backlash.
It had taken four days of hitchhiking to get to Tehran and I was still getting used to a country where I had yet to see another backpacker.
I had accepted that backpacking Iran was going to be a very different experience to traveling in any other country I had visited before.
Smiling broadly, the Mullah shook my hand, welcomed me to Iran in scratchy English and stamped a small booklet with our photos pasted into it. We took to the road, keen to explore as much of Iran as possible, to peel back the layers of an often forgotten country and to hitch the entire length of Iran and back.Most of the time foreigners can get around this by simply saying they are married, but because Esme was Persian, and therefore a Muslim, the rules were much stricter.We left the guesthouse in a rush, unsure of where we would stay as the cold swirled around us and snow began to fall.I LAY IN MY SLEEPING BAG, the cold barely kept at bay.I had entered Iran during the depths of winter and was beginning to wonder if this had been a mistake.I told her about my current three year trip across the world, of my upcoming adventures in Pakistan, my plan to sail a raft across the ocean.