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Iran: Make Love not War: Sex, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll on the Silk Road

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“THE first thing I saw at the border was a man’s butt as he stuffed smuggled cigarettes down his trousers. I met prostitutes whose profession was sanctioned as temporary marriage by clerics. I was offered alcohol and all the drugs under the sun in the north, and saw illegal pubs with people drinking. And I saw the most fabulous crown jewels and palaces anywhere. “All this “THE first thing I saw at the border was a man’s butt as he stuffed smuggled cigarettes down his trousers. I met prostitutes whose profession was sanctioned as temporary marriage by clerics. I was offered alcohol and all the drugs under the sun in the north, and saw illegal pubs with people drinking. And I saw the most fabulous crown jewels and palaces anywhere. “All this I experienced travelling overland and learning tips to pass on to you. I saw Tehran, the Shah’s Golestan Palace, Persepolis, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd. Many women took their hijabs off whenever they could, and people played music under the bridges of Isfahan. I discovered the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism and visited its funeral towers where the dead were laid out to be eaten by vultures. These were near the Star Wars-like desert city of Yazd, where wind towers drew cool air through underground caverns to air-condition the houses of hundreds of years ago. “I went mountaineering and saw old mosques and palaces and cafes lined with smashed mirrors and others with stained glass.”


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“THE first thing I saw at the border was a man’s butt as he stuffed smuggled cigarettes down his trousers. I met prostitutes whose profession was sanctioned as temporary marriage by clerics. I was offered alcohol and all the drugs under the sun in the north, and saw illegal pubs with people drinking. And I saw the most fabulous crown jewels and palaces anywhere. “All this “THE first thing I saw at the border was a man’s butt as he stuffed smuggled cigarettes down his trousers. I met prostitutes whose profession was sanctioned as temporary marriage by clerics. I was offered alcohol and all the drugs under the sun in the north, and saw illegal pubs with people drinking. And I saw the most fabulous crown jewels and palaces anywhere. “All this I experienced travelling overland and learning tips to pass on to you. I saw Tehran, the Shah’s Golestan Palace, Persepolis, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd. Many women took their hijabs off whenever they could, and people played music under the bridges of Isfahan. I discovered the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism and visited its funeral towers where the dead were laid out to be eaten by vultures. These were near the Star Wars-like desert city of Yazd, where wind towers drew cool air through underground caverns to air-condition the houses of hundreds of years ago. “I went mountaineering and saw old mosques and palaces and cafes lined with smashed mirrors and others with stained glass.”

30 review for Iran: Make Love not War: Sex, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll on the Silk Road

  1. 5 out of 5

    E.P.

    "Iran" brings up a very specific image in the minds of most Westerners: Chadors, morality police, nuclear weapons, and other unsavory things. "Persia," on the other hand, is redolent of some far-off, ancient Oriental exoticism. Mary Jane Walker's contemporary account of her recent trek through Iran is thus a welcome corrective to both those images. It's not that they don't have some basis in facts, but real-life modern-day Iran includes that and so much more. Walker's story of traveling around I "Iran" brings up a very specific image in the minds of most Westerners: Chadors, morality police, nuclear weapons, and other unsavory things. "Persia," on the other hand, is redolent of some far-off, ancient Oriental exoticism. Mary Jane Walker's contemporary account of her recent trek through Iran is thus a welcome corrective to both those images. It's not that they don't have some basis in facts, but real-life modern-day Iran includes that and so much more. Walker's story of traveling around Iran as a woman on her own gives Iran a much more human and welcoming face. First of all, it's heartening to hear that it is not only possible but even reasonably safe and easy for women to travel around Iran by themselves. Although women are expected to wear hijabs in public, and even chadors in certain areas, Walker had little trouble in following those rules, and even went bareheaded in many situations with little or no blowback (although there were a few moments of concern). She was able to move freely around the country, and enter numerous cultural and historic sights. And what sights! The book comes with lots of photos (I read it on my iPad in order to see the photos in color) of the incredibly beautiful buildings and artwork all over Iran. Looking at them will inspire even the most hardened stay-at-home non-traveler to want to visit Iran. I know I am now thirsting to go. The book is a mixture of travel story and travel advice, so we get Walker's adventures, which are quite entertaining, and her recommendations if you want to go to Iran, such as getting a debit card in the local currency. So it will be useful to "real" travelers planning a trip to Iran, as well as armchair travelers wanting to get in a vicarious visit to a country banned to most Americans. The writing style is simple and straightforward but gets the point across and puts the reader there on the scene. Overall, recommended for anyone interested in going to Iran or finding out what is going on there right now. My thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    The splendors of Persia Read one of New Zealand author Mary Jane Walker’s informed and richly entertaining travel books and the thirst for more adventures leads to searching for additional volumes. And that is what her memorable and exciting anthology A MAVERICK TRAVELLER ATHOLOGY offers – three voyages that reflect personal experiences in New Zealand hiking, Cuban exploration, and reliving an Old World type adventure on a Chinese junk, traveling two years from Canton to Paris. Then she extended The splendors of Persia Read one of New Zealand author Mary Jane Walker’s informed and richly entertaining travel books and the thirst for more adventures leads to searching for additional volumes. And that is what her memorable and exciting anthology A MAVERICK TRAVELLER ATHOLOGY offers – three voyages that reflect personal experiences in New Zealand hiking, Cuban exploration, and reliving an Old World type adventure on a Chinese junk, traveling two years from Canton to Paris. Then she extended her experiences through the USA. Now she offers IRAN: MAKE LOVE NOT WAR. In her Introductory comments she sets the tone – ‘After trying to climb Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, I crossed the border into nearby Iran, or Persia: a fabled land that I’d long wanted to visit, whatever its current unpopularity in the West…While I was in Iran I would also see smugglers, prostitutes working under the cover of a custom called ‘temporary marriage’ (sanctioned by clerics), and be offered beer and all the drugs under the sun.’ And with her entertaining and informative writing are splendid color photographs and maps and images that enhance not only her travels and observations, but also provide important historical facts about a misunderstood and underappreciated country. She adds a bit of philosophy worth quoting: ’Our attitude to Iran should be one of ‘Make Love Not War.’ We do not need another war in the Middle East. Most Iranians are not religious extremists. And the people I met were so worried about the future that they did not want to marry or have children. Like most other humans o this earth they want to enjoy their life. I do believe most people under 30 are worried about the planet’s future and this is as true in Iran, as elsewhere.’ This is one of the most satisfying travel books available today – sophisticated in content yet warmly personal, making the reader feel as though an accompanying companion on each journey. Highly Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Russell Bittner

    Mary Jane has done it once again—to ALL of our benefits! She’s traveled to a relatively uncharted region of the world, but without failing to first do a respectable bit of research. She then gains first-person insight by being an open-minded explorer in a foreign country, culture and language, and by being a gracious guest. In this case, the country was Iran—the former Persia. It’s a place of art, architecture, poetry—and, as Mary Jane tells it, of great food and very hospitable hosts! It’s frank Mary Jane has done it once again—to ALL of our benefits! She’s traveled to a relatively uncharted region of the world, but without failing to first do a respectable bit of research. She then gains first-person insight by being an open-minded explorer in a foreign country, culture and language, and by being a gracious guest. In this case, the country was Iran—the former Persia. It’s a place of art, architecture, poetry—and, as Mary Jane tells it, of great food and very hospitable hosts! It’s frankly an embarrassment to me, as an American, to read all of this knowing what our current president may be up to where Iran is concerned. Do yourself a favor. Read Iran: Make Love Not War: Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll on the Silk Road and tell me whether you disagree. I suspect you won’t! RRB Brooklyn, NY 18 September 2019

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet Boomla

  5. 4 out of 5

    Can Besev

  6. 4 out of 5

    patrick igoe

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  8. 4 out of 5

    Donald Sharp

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mardi Gorham

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Parmanand Lall

  11. 5 out of 5

    dr.suresh naik

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter Karlen

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christine Kenison

  14. 4 out of 5

    tom holt

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Averbuch

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rosa Ramos-Williams

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barbara A Herrmann

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sohale Razmjou

  19. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin R delCarmen

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Button

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danny Sechrest

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rita Lowry

  23. 4 out of 5

    Walter A. Glooschenko

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sajadi Reza

  25. 5 out of 5

    Naj

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jean

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Roshanian

  28. 4 out of 5

    hussain al-lawati

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robert L.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David f.Kappos

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