not living up to it

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Walking along the highway, and never being able to leave it, and having the earplugs block everything out and making the world sound as if I was underwater, had left me with a strange sense of detachment. It felt as though I was driving a car through this part of Iran, only very very slow.

I wanted alcohol, so when I saw these bottles with fancy cocktail names, I was amazed:

Shadlee Syrups

I knew they were non-alcoholic. Iran, America’s estranged twin, was in its prohibition period, and there was no alcohol allowed for anyone, anywhere. I decided to purchase a bottle of this non-alcoholic syrup called “Mojito” anyway:

Shadlee Mojito Syrup

I left Nur on the highway:

leaving Nur

It was just as loud as ever, but there was no other way to go.

It was mostly semi-urban sprawl:

thin house

And sometimes, there was a fabulous stairway:

fabulous stairway

Or a fabulous bridge:

fabulous bridge

I tried the “Mojito” syrup, and it sucked:

trying the Mojito syrup

I passed fruit vendors:

fruits for sale

And doll vendors:

dolls for sale

And fake shops:

Mango shop

And fake restaurants:

Kentucky Fried Chicken

And ruins:

ruin

In one place, some dude was trying to sell FSB towels:

FSB towels

Iran wasn’t only America’s estranged twin. It was also that of China.

I had a late lunch of Akhbar Joojeh:

late lunch at Akhbar Joojeh

And then I passed a part of the highway that people had been telling me about for the last 300km on the road. “The Caspian Sea is on one side, the mountains are on the other!” they had told me with shining eyes.

Well, the Caspian Sea was sort of there:

highway next to the Caspian Sea

But there were construction projects everywhere:

construction project

Some where unfinished:

unfinished construction

And some were just weird:

Chinese looking building

I looked longingly to little roads that seemed to lead away from all this and into the mountains:

road to the mountains

Did I like the highway between the Sea and the mountains? From a car window, maybe. From an elevated position, definitely:

thumbs up dude

But it wasn’t a nice place for walking:

supposedly beautiful stretch of road

It was the same was with many other “must-see” destinations – they often failed to live up to the hype.

The sunset was beautiful, though:

sunset near Chalandar

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