Note: Author spent 16 days in Iran in August 2007. This article is part of the series that describes his experience in Iran.
For over six years in the 1970s I worked at Kayhan newspaper in Atabak alley, right between Ferdowsi and Lalehzar streets. During this time, I visited Bank Melli in Ferdowsi avenue many times. I also passed the National Jewels Museum many times, but never paid a visit there. But as it's customary, we usually don't get to appreciate things until they are way out of reach! So after 30 years it was finally time to head to the Jewels Museum.
We left the house around noon and walked to a nearby street to get a cab. It was a hot summer day in Tehran, but it was bearable. Half of the people in our party took a cab and left. For the other half, my nephew Saeid hired a private cab from a nearby agency. When we got in the car, Saeid told me the driver will take us to Toopkhaneh since the traffic plans are in effect and he cannot go beyond that. I asked him how we would make it to the Jewels Museum then (since that was another mile or so up on Ferdowsi Avenue and we weren't quite planning to walk on a hot day like that)? The driver, who was in his 50s and had overheard me said: "you want to go to the Jewels Museum? No problem." He then got out of the car and opened the trunk and took out a jumpsuit and started putting it on. I was wondering what he's doing. It was already pretty hot, and the car's AC wasn't on. Putting a jumpsuit on was kind of suicidal!
When he got back in the car, he said: "with this suite we can go anywhere." It was only then that I noticed he's wearing the jumpsuit of the Iranian Air Force! Apparently the traffic plan didn't apply to air force pilots. I was quite amazed at this Iranian ingenuity J
A few minutes later when my son said something in English, our Captain started speaking in English to him. He said he'd spent four years in U.S. while in training, mostly in Texas and Colorado. He seemed quite fond of those times and United States. He also said he'd flied for eight years during Iran-Iraq war and had been part of many missions. He was obviously very proud of his service, but at the same time he came across as very modest and down to earth.
Our Captain flew us to the museum in no time, and the take-off, flight and the landing were all very smooth! He then gave me his card for our future flight needs J
As I said in my first piece, almost anything is possible is Iran, and this was one of the many examples we were to witness during our short trip.
The museum itself was also very amazing. We had to check in everything, including our cell phones, before entering the building. We then went into a huge vault which I believe was about 15-20K square foot. Our guide, a young woman and very professional, took us around giving detailed descriptions of the various jewels. There were also English-speaking guides for the foreign tourists.
Among the jewels we saw were the crowns from Pahlavi dynasty. One of the most famous jewls there was of course the sea of light (daraye nour) diamond.
Since no cameras were allowed, I don't have any pictures to share. We did buy the museum's book before leaving. But unfortunately we left it in a nearby café afterwards.
About the author: Ali Moayedian is an Iranian-American who lives in San Francisco Bay Area.
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