This post was first published in my old travel blog, Erudite Traveller on 22 November 2017.It was in Kang Village in Mashhad, Iran, that I learned how to say no five times before accepting offers of food and drinks. Taroof, the Persian custom of civility and deference, can be a landmine in local – foreigner relations. Persians make offers that they expect will be refused. Its basic component is politeness; by a complicated dance of offers and refusals, people show their respect and deference to one another. Accept offers too early and the offerer will be put on the spot
I knew that my trip was off to a roaring start when my Thai Airways plane en route to Tehran announced that alcohol is to be served less than an hour into the flight. I have sworn off alcohol due to my fear of hangovers but decided to join in on the fun. Alcohol is strictly prohibited in Iran; who knows when I will have it next. Later in the trip, I had dinner in a restaurant along Valiasr in Tehran’s downtown district which listed mojitos (peach and mint) on the menu. My enthusiasm was doused when I was informed that
This post was originally published in my old travel blog, Erudite Traveller in 2017. “It’s Ashura,” my guide said, surprised and confused when I asked why there were so many people on Tehran’s streets close to midnight. She probably assumed that I knew that I will be in her country during a religious holiday. I didn’t. I wasn’t prepared to travel in Iran on Ashura. Ashura, or the tenth day of the Muharram (the first month in the Islamic calendar), is considered one of the most important religious holidays for Shia Muslims. Iran is a Shia-majority country. Not knowing it
Not many people know that there is a lavender field in South Korea, and what’s more, that the farm is located in Gangwon Province, more or less only a couple of hours away from Seoul. A day trip to the field is well worth the effort of commuting to the northeasternmost county in South Korea. It’s also great news for people who want to see and experience lavender fields but cannot/do not want to go to Europe. The Hani Lavender Farm is located in the northernmost county of Gangwon Province, to the north of the traditional Korean summer destination Sokcho,
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