The amazing Arbabi and Saeedy families - Iranian hospitality at it’s very best

DSC_0405 A friend on Couch Surfing managed to help us find somewhere to stay in Mashhad. We arrived cold and wet and were greeted by the warmest welcome you could have anywhere in the world.

Sarah and her friend Behnam met us in their car and escorted us back to Azizeh and Ahmad’s house where we were to stay.

The house was beautiful and we were immediately told to get in the shower, then fed and introduced to everyone. It was superb.

IMG_3585 Azizeh spoke excellent English although she hadn’t used it for a while and Sarah was just all smiles and kindness, trying desperately hard to understand.

Behnam on the other hand was very good at English, studying Engineering at Universtity with all tuition in English.



We have been fed constantly and protected from the outrageous Mashhad weather, snow yesterday and rain the rest of the time! Apparently Mashhad is a 4 seasons in 1 day kind of place as we have now discovered. The family helped us mend our pedals which are hardly rotating anymore and we got our bike cleaned.

IMG_3631 IMG_3629

We have spent the rest of our time learning Farsi and just hanging out chatting about life and trying to get our heads around this amazing place, although we have also gone out for two meals – both to really nice and popular burger bars full of interesting people, had a walk in the park to see all the joggers, exercisers and the mountaineering group, had a delicious meal at Sarah’s parent’s house, been round to Sarah’s sister’s house for a meal and been given several music recitals as well as a visit to the great Ferdosi’s Mausoleum.


The best bit has been spending time with Sarah, Behnam and the Arbabi family (Lida the daughter arrived back yesterday from Tehran) seeing Iran through their eyes and learning as much Farsi as we can as well as as much as possible about the way people interact.



Sina, Sarah’s sister’s son was a superb Farsi teacher and was even able to explain the amazing concept of ‘Tarruf’ where everyone tries to be as kind as possible and asks several times if you want more food or want something for free. You just have to keep refusing. Even shop keepers do it and try to give you free food (but you HAVE to pay really) When we went to the Mausoleum even the ticket man tried to give us free tickets (But you HAVE to pay!) It’s a strange concept but makes Iran even more special.

This place is ‘Baah Baah’  They have great music too!


1 comment :

  1. I am so happy that you had a good time with my family and thanks for complimenting my mom's english;)
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.