I met a couple of guys from Iran yesterday. I’ve met a handful of Iranians before, and it has always been interesting to talk to them.
The northern part of Iran is what Azerbaijanis say is ‘southern Azerbaijan.’ I’m not really sure who drew the line in the sand, but Iran ended up with the territory of people who were ethnically Azeri. So there are a lot of people in northern Iran who speak Azerbaijani, though I’ve heard that they don’t speak it officially, which I only took as they don’t learn it in schools.
I could converse with these guys in Azerbaijani, and the first thing they asked me after they found out I was American was about George Bush. I told them how I don’t like him and how I want Obama, yada yada yada. I said that I hope there can be friendship between our countries. One of the guys said, “I hope there will be peace among our governments, but there will always be friendship between the people.” It was a really nice thing to hear, and he seemed very sincere as he said it.
The other guy only reinforced the hospitable reputation of Iranian people when we started talking about money and the dollar. He asked if I had seen the Iranian Real before, and when I said no, he handed me a 50,000 and 20,000 Real bill (5 and 2 dollars). They are big notes, and when he noticed that I was looking at them with interest, he said, “They’re yours.” I politely refused, but I kind of wish I took him up on the offer now. Maybe next time.