Ayatoner of Leek

If he was the one flying the planes, we’d have to get pre-flight beery,

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It’s scarey leery aero-capitalist Michael “FitzTrump”O’Leary

Micky O’Lah hasn’t been in the news lately but he might have been on our tube. He sat with a vigour that Meg and I felt three seats down the line. A vigour that suggested, “I am an entitled arsehole who has planes.” Then he charged us €20 for what he called “a mid-trip rump-massage.” Boom!

Oh yeah, a Ryanair joke, because in my head it’s 2006.

So this past week I was high on the transport hog and was spread across several countries. It didn’t do a lot for my normally youthful visage (at one point I was able to pinch the bags under my eyes and waggle them around like tiny grey face-scrotes) but it did allow me to renew my love affair with the tiny pellets of honeyed pastry called baklava. That stuff would make you spend a night with Jabba himself.

So Iran, Iran so far away… better not be gay. Because along with an exposed female noggin and going twenty minutes without delicious cakes it’s bally-well illegal in Iran.

Which is where I am as I write this.

“Why am I here?” you’re probably asking, especially those with an existentially curious bent. As with many of the strange and wonderful places I’ve been to over the past two years, this is a work venture. But of course.

gorgeous-fantasy-worldWhere I work, in your mind (probably)

I got the all clear for this trip only on the previous Tuesday as my Visa still hung in the ether until the crucial final step of getting it daubed into my increasingly ragged passport got sorted by some tremendous fellows in a non-descript house in Kensington. I decided to just rock up to the consulate, emailing people as I went, trying to sort it out with the only thing I knew for sure being they decidedly DID NOT process Visas the day I was there.

Incidentally, why are they called Visas? Why doesn’t Mastercard get any love? That’s not a 2006 joke. Just a bad one.

I was instructed to chill my gills in the waiting room under the withering glower power of the Ayatollah whose portrait makes him look a bit like Sean Connery but after he accepted he was bald and really started owning it.

God he’s magnificent. Connery. And maybe the Ayatollah too.

After some Irish charm (and a lot more effectively a phone call from the European Commission) they sent me on my way, utterly credentialed but now admittedly wondering how my irreverant (and irrelevant) humor would go down with the real-world cast of Argo.

argo-006

Not to be seen by anyone under 15. Or anyone. I’m glad he’s not allowed do movies now.

Just Affleck, John Goodman get’s a free pass on everything after The Big Lebowski.  And not Casey Affleck. He’s a dote.

Last Sunday afternoon I trundled off to Heathrow airport with the ringing endorsements of “be careful,””don’t do anything fucking stupid” and “I’m not going over there to dig you out of the shit” from my various family members.

I also studiously avoided any intoxicating beverages in the airport as I didn’t want there to be any reason for the Iranian Revolutionary guard (great bunch of lads) to decide my blood required some inspection and would be more conveniently located for this purpose outside my body.

The flight was a bit grim being as it was Iran Air. The Iranians can sure do a hell of a foil pouch of unseasoned chicken and rice, but their passengers would be mucho obliged if they soaked up some of the sloshy piddle that made the toilets a one and done occurrance.

thorn_tree_sossusvlei_namib_desert_namibia_luca_galuzzi_2004a

The rest of the flight was spent imagining the above scene and arranging my napkins into a rudimentary adult diaper.

I landed in Tehran Ayatollah Khomeni airport in the wee (so much wee) small hours of the morning, with a terrible desire to see someone holding my name mispelled on an A4 piece of white paper. There was no such someone.

After walking up and down a bit some harried looking chap started flaking it towards me and held out some crumpled text. I have always felt more of a Martin Cole if I’m honest and never have I been happier to be recognised as such. We wandered around the car park for twenty minutes, as he jabbed at the button in his hand listening for a beep that wasn’t forthcoming. Parking lines in Iran as well as traffic signals are really more suggestions than anything to be taken seriously. Which brings me to… Shambling to and fro around through the chaotic car salad, the thought occurred to me that maybe he’ll bring me somewhere that isn’t my hotel. Maybe I’ll be… Taken!?

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Even Liam Neeson couldn’t get into a decent car chase if he was stuck in what I was soon to learn was the “famous” Tehran all-day gridlock.

Apparently there isn’t a great black market for the out of shape, pasty brillo-pad body type that is now my category should I ever have to classify myself in some grim human brochure.

If you haven’t seen me lately, don’t worry I’m probably still in the back of some lads car on Axis of Evil boulevard. The traffic was easily the worst thing about Tehran, in fact it was the only substantive negative I encountered in my time there.

Food was delicious, people are sound out and most everyone was perfectly happy to ignore any stupidity or insensitvity I might have expressed. Assuming I acted like myself at any point over the two days.

A choice bit of Iranian trivia: to piss off the British, they renamed the street that fronts on to the British Embassy as….

Bobby Sands Street.

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Beeeeeoootiful

Top level mischief I hope you agree. Some more from the Islamic Republic next week.

In other news, Meg has been taken down with a bad case of sore chompers and can’t sleep lying down without her gum swelling up and throbbing like rude emergency dinghy. Downside is she is only able to eat about a half a cup of porridge before quietly weeping.

Other downside is as she is having to sleep on the couch to keep upright, I have started sleeping in a blanket fort like nature definitely never intended.

There are no upsides.

Ayatoner of Leek

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