Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Before we left on holiday I told colleagues in Helsinki I would be off-line for a couple of weeks as we were going to Iran. The next day, one of the Vice-presidents was talking to my boss about a business case we are currently preparing. He finished the call and then rang back 20 seconds later because he had forgotten to ask 'the financial controllers want to know why Paula is going to Iran'

So why Iran? Everywhere we looked this year Iran was being probed as a destination, beautiful buildings, history, friendly people and it was easier than ever to go into the country after years off sanctions and general hostility to the west.

Air Asia had a very good price promotion on for their new route into the country and Andrew had finally been convinced it was a good idea. Even if he wasn't going to get any alcohol for 2 weeks. 

 We left Vientiane at 8:45 am, kicked about the airport until 7pm and then we were off.  From Kuala Lumpur it is an 8 hour flight to Tehran and we arrived at 11pm local time. Then it was time for the Visa on arrival process. Before we could do our we had to go to a booth and show we had medical insurance - and after convincing the man my corporate insurance covered both of us even though our names were not on the policy (saving us $32 extra ) then we could get the visa form, but we had to go to another booth to pay our fee. Europeans pay something like €50 - 70 each, but New Zealand because it is considered to be a friend of the USA we get hit with an eye-watering €150 each. Fee paid we waited a few more minutes for our passports and visas. Then we had the joy of standing in a very long line to go through immigration.  We collected our bags and found our pre-arranged taxi and were on the road out of the airport at 12:10am
Even at midnight on Friday morning (day of prayers) traffic was busy on the 30km in from the airport. We saw a few manoeuvres that pushed the safe driving envelope more than just a little. Welcome to Tehran!

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