well, iran had a lot to offer besides the sour little green plums, though it may not seem like it right if you look at what i wrote while i was there.
the day after i got there, my aunt took me to the friday bazaar, which was basically just a four story flea market held inside a huge parking structure. there was a TON of junk there, but also lots of great stuff that i really regret not buying. i was kinda hoping to go back, but it just didn't work out. i did but an amazing antique silver headdress--the kind with many coins and chains and agate and tourquoise all strung together somehow and then tied to a bride's head in the old days--for about 5 bucks. i am going to try to figure out how to turn it into a belt when i get home. i also found some pre-revolution silver coins and did my fair share of staring at the youth of iran. all of the people my age were so COOL; i couldn't believe it! i could have been in san francisco or the west village, what with all of the coolness in the air. it was nuts. lots of dark jeans, converse sneakers (but in a cool way) and retroness.
i also got a lovely kurdish outfit that was the most beautiful shade of tourquoise. but when we got home and i tried to pull it over my shoulders, it didn't even come close to fitting. i have such broad shoulders, nothing fits me right. my plan was to get clothes made when i went to visit my grandma, but that didn't happen. instead, we asked a friend who was going to kermanshah to get me some clothes tailored, and the next person in my family who comes to california will bring them for me. we'll see what happens.
as far as social changes go, i think a lot of the liberalness (is that a word?) derives from the kids who watch satellite tv and play around on the internet all day long. there is so much pent up sexuality, and so much can be relayed with only a glance, that in some ways, i feel like conservative muslim countries end up being so much more (i am having one of those "what is the word i am looking for?" moments.) sensual (not the word i was looking for) than their outwardly soxual, "free" western counterparts. here, when a man bumps into me on the street, it means nothing. but there, it carries so much more weight and meaning. if i were the ruler of one of these countries, i would be so frustrated that all of my efforts are having the exact opposite effect than that which i seek. foiled every time.
you can't keep the west out. you can't tell people that the west is evil. you can't do that crap, because it just makes them want it more. like when i was in 6th grade and my persian school principal told all of the girls that we might be able to wear makeup and nail polish to our american schools, on the weekdays, but on friday night we had to remove our nail polish and forget about the maeup come saturday. being a total tomboy, none of that stuff interested me anyhow, but once it became illegal (i am having a problem finding the right word for anything right now), i wanted to paint my nails each weekend just to be defiant at iranian school (also, i didn't like her or her tone much).
well, now it's just like all of iran, and all of these other places, wants to put on its nail polish (literally and figuratively). that's my astute sociopolitical analysis for the day.