Deezy Day 8.22.2014 / by Walter Kitundu

Due to the passing of a certain imam on this day of some distant year, the first two places we decide to visit today are closed. Much respect. Milad tower is closed unless you are down to drop some serious cash on the spinning restaurant and dizzying views… so lets go get Deezy instead. Working man's food. Clay pot stew of the highest order. I can't wait!

Well, yes I can wait I guess. Along with 60-70 others who pass the time chatting curbside in the afternoon shade for their turn into the cozy, old school, flavor emporium. Our family and new friends are deeply generous and warm and the bright conversation is wide ranging and engaging.

It is the most pleasant hour and a half I've ever spent working up an appetite and expectation and the food did not disappoint. Salad shirazi, dough, deezy, torshy, and farsi surround sound. The only low point was my body retaliating for the sudden shift in climate and culinary environments.

Home and rested once again, we decide to strike out toward the Museum of Cinema as night falls. We take a hired taxi through the serpentine city streets and once on the freeway, nearly flatten a random pedestrian who decided crossing a highway in the dark was somehow sensible. Perhaps it was, he survived, just. Looking across lanes I spot a dark lump in traffic and see a family of three, in black, on a motorcycle with the only helmet securely strapped over the brake light, rendering them invisible. It seems like every excursion onto Tehran's streets offers similar moments that shake my safe sensibilities… and yet it works because those who ply their trade here know that weaving clump of people in the darkness is to be expected and avoided. 

We re-enter the labyrinth of one way streets in North Tehran and spend the evening outside in a lovely park with trees that seem to hang from the dark sky. We explore a beautifully adorned building and wind up at the cafe catching a string of notes that emerge from the trees as a lone trumpeter plays a ballad.

At one point I'm left alone with a new friend who speaks little english, still more than my farsi, and the silence descends. I try asking questions, gesturing, communicating, but feel woefully unprepared. It stings because he is a confident man with a world of ideas and information and I'm stuck without the tools to learn from him. I have yet to know, as an adult, the wonders of being multi-lingual. I'm stuck at the beginning with a hill to climb and with a mountain of respect for those who take on another language and put in the work to thrive. As Shirin says, it's like learning another way of being. I'm envious.

I wasn't as present as I might have been tonight as I kept watch over my trembling tummy. We made it home and I dove back into Ted Simon's books Jupiter's Travels, and Dreaming of Jupiter. I'm refreshing my memory of one, and chasing it with the other, written 27 years later. Somehow his perspective informs my own, particularly in the moments when I feel less confident. 

On another note, I found out today that my friend has arranged for us to ride dirt bikes on a military compound next week. I am beyond excited at the prospect.