By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Last week Paul was away for a week and my friends Ali, Faroukh, and Afsaneh made sure that I did not feel lonely and took me out a few times. We do not usually go out to the cinema and often see the Iranian feature films when they come out on DVD which is quite fine with me, the only problem is that most of them do not have subtitles and unfortunately Paul's Persian is quite rudimentary!
So during Paul's absence and once in celebration of his return, along with a couple of other friends, we all went twice to the new and much talked about Park Mellat Pardis Cineplex, and once to Arike Iranian which is further west. We watched Bahram Bayzaie's new film Vaghti hame khaabim (When We Are All Asleep) and Tahmineh Milani's Superstar.
If it had been only me I would think that it was just my taste or lack of taste or maybe I did not understand the issues and concerns of such talented artists, but unfortunately it seemed to be the general feeling!! I was about to lose hope completely when we went to see Bist (20) which was the work of Abdorreza Kahani,- we all liked the film, the acting, the story and overall production, and it was not because the story was about the poor and destitute of Tehran, it was a well made film even if I did not like the final ending.
On one of the cinema outings we went to Ali's house for some home made pizza. Ali is in process of renovating his apartment, which has taken a long time but I expected that after two years it would be more or less done. We all sat in the living room on whatever we could find, being the eldest I was given the armchair, and the pizzas came individually, they were shared among the five of us and the next one would be ready 20 minutes later as the oven was so small that only one pizza plate could be cooked at a time, but it was great fun and we all had a good time.
The second time we went to the cinema, I fancied jigar, (barbequed liver) and it is considered a very nourishing food. In Iran this is sold in little places called jigari's. Ali knew of a new good place near his office and we ended up at Jigar-sara-e Ojagh-bashi. They also do a lot of different kebabs and deliver, but jigar is something that you must have straight from the barbeque. I am very fond of it, and this may be because it always reminds me of the times I used to go out with my grandmother and she would treat us to jigar if we had behaved ourselves.
That night we met Mr Zenozi and his partner Mr Taher and their young good looking cook Mohammad who is from Ardebill in the northwest of Iran and really knows how to do a good jigar. Jigar-sara-e Ojagh-bashi was opened a couple of months ago and I seriously hope they stay open as we need a good jigari in this part of town. There are good Iranian customs that if taken in moderation are good to keep and preserve.
On the last evening we ended up near Tajrish Square and enjoyed the famous bastani ice cream of Seyed Mehdi. Usually there are huge traffic jams because drivers stop to get their ice cream disrespectful of ongoing traffic, double parking etc and then you have to wait in the queue for your turn. But that night it was almost closing time and we had parked further away. We had to forego the halim and ash reshteh, which was sold in the other shop as we all had had dinner, and we left that experience until next time. The Tajrish late night outing was fun and even if the ice cream did not quite taste like the old times we enjoyed the fun, the people we met and of course the paloodeh & bastani nooni.
Jaye shoma hame kahli !! (we missed you)
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