Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Late Happy Birthday to Mashhad (IRAN) Daily Photoblog

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Happy Birthday Mashhad (IRAN) Daily Photoblog. These are the last photos I posted on Mashhad Daily Photos in my last day in Mashhad. These pictures show a lovely poem about my homeland that says:

This place is the sparkle of god throne, take off your hat.
Here is the mausoleum of the master of Toos, prone on the ground.

This place is as holy as the Mount Sinai, take off your shoes.
Here is the tomb of Ferdowsi, kiss its earth.

Water Resources Education Center, City of Vancouver

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mount St. Helens Erruption

Mount Hood

Mount St. Helens after erruption

Mount St. Helens is most famous for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980, at 8:32am PDT which was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. The removal of the north side of the mountain reduced St. Helens' height by about 1,300 feet (400 m) and left a crater one to 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and 0.5 miles (800 m) deep, with its north end open in a huge breach.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Dina suggested me to go out today morning to see how Americans celebrate Easter. I took her suggestion. I haven't ever been to a church in action. I mean I visited some churches in Iran, Cyprus and in the U.S. but nobody were there at that time and It was quiet and empty. But today it was crowded. However it was a small church I think.

The most interesting thing that I found was the 'Egg Hunting' tradition. Similar to what we prepare for our new year day in Iran, the colorful eggs (you might see some of them in Sara's blog, Mashhad (IRAN) Daily Photos), they painted some eggs for children. They have absolutely similar symbol: symbol of the rebirth!

The ancient Persians painted eggs for the new near celebration (Nowrouz), which falls on the Spring equinox. This tradition has existed for at least 2,500 years. The sculptures on the walls of Persepolis show people carrying eggs for Nowrouz to the king.

Let me tell you a little bit about my observation:

It was 10:30. I entered a random church in downtown. It was 'St. James Lutheran Church'. Similar to a mosque people sat in rows. There was a leader (pastor?) in the front row, right below the cross, who was saying something (the prayings) and sometimes people repeated after her and sometimes just said Amen. Similarly in a mosque, there is a leader (called Emam in Farsi or Imam in Arabic) who stands in the first row and leads the crowd to say the prayings all together.

After the main prayings, the leader started talking about some parts of the story of the easter day. Exactly the same in a mosque, after the prayings, the Emam starts to tell a story about something in the past related to the prophet or his followers. It is so funny that it seems all the leader, no matter in a church or a mosque, love to speak alot. They are talkative!

After saying someother prayings, people started shaking hand with each other. Wow! I can't believe. This happens in a mosque exactly in the same way. At the end of the prayings in a mosque, Muslims shake hand with each other.

Hmmm what else? ... oh when they said Amen altogether, it reminded me Mecca and Medina. I visited Mecca and Medina in summer 2007. The mosque was full of people, thousands of people were ready to pray altogether. The leader started the prayings. Suddenly everything got silent. If you close your eyes, you never guess if you are among such a huge crowd. You hear the sound of people's breath, song of birds and everything that you could never hear just a minute ago. After a few minutes of silence and just listening to the leader saying the prayers in Arabic, you hear a soft and loud voice of people saying 'Aaaaamen'. I recommend you to watch the first two minutes of this video in YouTube. Anyway, it was so interesting to see all these similarities! I love the word 'Amen'. It is a magic word that is interestingly used all around the world.

Islam holds Jesus to be a prophet, or messenger of God, along with Muhammad, Moses, Abraham, Noah, and others. In particular, Jesus is described as the Messiah, sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture, the gospel. According to the Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, Jesus was born to Mary as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God. To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles. These included speaking from the cradle, curing the blind and the lepers, as well as raising the dead; all by the permission of God. Furthermore, Jesus was helped by a band of disciples. Islam rejects historians assertions that Jesus was crucified by the Romans, instead claiming that he had been raised alive up to heaven. Islamic traditions narrate that he will return to earth near the day of judgement to restore justice and defeat "the false messiah". Maybe this is a little different from what Christians believe, yet similar. No matter whether Jesus was finally crucified or not. We all knew he suffered alot and we all knew he was risen and he will be back! Amen. Is Amen the last word in the bible?


Happy Easter!

PDX Airport Clock

Portland, Tokyo and Frankfurt

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

In Memory of Sacajawea

In Memory of Sacajawea, the only woman in the Lewis and Clark expedition and in honor of the pioneer mother of old Oregon.

Please Spare a Buck Change

"Down on my luck. Please spare a buck change"

What if the economic crisis and rate of unemployment remains bad for 30 years in a society and so many sanctions are imposed to them? What if all their banks are blocked to work internationally and no foreign investor is allowed to invest money in their country? What if their region is unstable and "life is uncertain" due to regional and international threats and wars around? What if some bad politicians keep the power for many years? What if even nobody is allowed to sell them a civilian airplane? What if their top universities are under scientific sanctions? But people still love their homeland, still remain hopeful and try to survive. Then I would call that place 'IRAN'.

If I had a chance to meet Obama, I would tell him that by imposing all these economic pressures on Iran you will never get rid of the current leaders (or change their mind) but only make ordinary people suffer alot. I'm worried about my future and my family. We've had a revolution and a 8-years war in the past 30 years. Aren't they enough to make people tired and overwhelmed? There must be a better way to change.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

13th day of Spring


Today is Sizdah-Bedar, which literally means 'Getting Rid of 13'. The tradition of leaving the house on the thirteenth (Sizdah) day of Farvardin (the first month of spring), the last day of the Norouz period, and spending that day outside with joy, laughter and pleasure with family and frineds has been in practice since ancient times in Iran. This is the last phase of the celebrations of the New Year ( Norouz). This joyous celebration has its roots in the Zoroastrian belief that laughter and joy symbolize the throwing away of bad thoughts.

On the last day of the New Year celebrations, the 13th of the first month Farvardin, it is the custom of Iranians to pass as many hours as possible outdoors. All people leave their homes to go to the parks or local plains for a very festive picnic. It is a must to spend this day in nature and the occasion is called Sizdah-Bedar.

This day was not celebrated in this manner before Islam and might be several rituals in one. It is possible that this day was devoted to the deity Tishtrya (Tir), protector of rain. In the Zoroastrian calendar each day is named after a deity and this particular day in the month of Farvardin is named after Tishtrya. In the past there were outdoor festivities to pray to this deity in hope of rain that was essential for agriculture. The act of throwing away the Sabzeh (Remember Sabzeh was one of those 7 elements in Haft-Sin Table) from Haft-Sin into rivers and running waters on this day also indicates veneration for a water deity. The act symbolically represents an offering made to such a deity.

Happy Sizdah-Bedar!

Sizdah-Bedar, Mashhad, Iran, 2004

Roads are often heavily congested in the morning because almost all the people are leaving the city. You see our 'Sabzeh' is on top of the hood of our car. If you enlarge the photo you may see there is a 'Sabzeh' on top of the roof of one of the cars.