Dear Father and Mother,
Tehran, still May 1, 1973
This is more or less a continuation of letter no. 21. My concept of Tehran was gathered, I think, in large degree from father's 1960 photos, which I thought showed mostly slummy areas. It may be that my impression was wrong, or it may be that things have changed in the last 13 years, or it may be that we have seen different areas. Possibly a little of each. However I was agreeably surprised to find a very busy, modern city nestling in the lee of snow-covered mountains. Some of the streets and buildings are very fine, though I expect, as in so many other places, it is only a façade.
The people are nothing to complain about, though they have less time to be friendly than in Mashhad, and the traffic is more reminiscent of Bangkok. The Persians being prosperous enough to dress well, I found they stared and smiled at my bare feet as I walked the city streets yesterday. (I even offered them to one grinning bootblack to polish.) Most of them probably didn't understand at a single glance the whole ghastly reason: that my Woolies shoes fell apart; that my Bangkok sandshoes make my feet sweat unbearably; and that my Old Delhi thongs have been hurting my feet.
In my travels, besides applying for an Iraqi visa and drinking a bottle of beer (only 20 Rls) with some rolls for lunch, I called in at the Australian Embassy and collected two letters from home and one from Ruth/Aunt J. A remark of Ruth's make me suspect I may have missed some mail in Islamabad. I hope this is not the case as letters are rather valuable as a link to the outside world.
To be sure, Anwar Sadat is making belligerent noises again. I don't expect to go to Egypt any more but I hope the rest of the Middle East behaves itself. Jack and I agree it would be best for us to travel together as long as possible and this morning reached a tentative compromise: we leave for Esfahan in the bus at 2200 tonight (8 hour journey) and go from there to Shiraz (and Persepolis), cross into Iraq, visit Ur and Babylon, then from Baghdad to Amman whence I hope to go to Damascus and Lebanon, while he flies to Cairo. It means I won't get up to Nineveh, but there's probably not much to see anyway. From Tyre? I would like to go down to the sea in ships to Cyprus and, if time permits (which I doubt), visit Rhodes etc. Probably I'll move quickly through to Frankfurt, see about a job, go on to England for a couple of weeks, then back to Switzerland (Jack has renewed his invitation to Murten's Solennität festival on June 22) and back again to Frankfurt, perhaps, to work.
In view of the fact that I have used $440 of the $1000 I brought and since the countries ahead are more expensive, I would be grateful if you could arrange to remit, say, $A400 to BNSW or somewhere in London, by the end of May to be safe. Unfortunately I'll have to buy a whole lot of new clothes, too, before I start work.