I'm starting an unusual experiment with one of my favorite topics. Out of a momentary idea I jotted down a glossary about Iranian traffic, which you can read in lexicon-form . You can laugh on it or ham and haw, but first and foremost try to supplement and amend it. Instead of further yakking, I recommend the related link of Paykanhunter, not only for Paykan fans, but anyone interested in this topic!
Cool car: The vehicle which the youngs of North-Tehran are hunting girls with. Since each car is twice as expensive as in Europe, a cooler BMW or Mercedes supposes serious financial background for those girls who are dreaming about a pink future. According our trustable local sources a ~ is the most important requirement for sexual adventures, and most important place as well for those encounters.
Five minutes: This is the unit of time, what the Iranians are saying in response when you ask the date of a future event occurrence. ~ is the most popular and most common answer for the questions like ‘When does it start?’, ‘How many minutes?’, ‘At what time does it open?’, ‘When will we reach there?’, ‘How long does it take?’ or ‘How many minutes by walk?’. Relative extent can be any length, the absolute duration is fluctuating between five minutes and three hours.The goal is to reassure the anxious guests, but after a couple of ‘~’ answers they start to worry seriously.
Following distance: This expression relates to driving. The Iranian definition is simple: optional distance between two cars which are going to the same direction. It’s never more than 5-10 centimeters in Tehran. Many people refer the thumb-rule: where your finger fits, that place is enough. The ~ is a nightmare for western drivers on the roads of Iran, you can see thousands of bumps every day.
Luxury bus: It praises the good sense of Iranians that they thought of wealthy people. A normal Volvo has 40 some seats but in this model there are only 25 in 3 rows (instead of 4). Extremely comfortable but companies ask 50-100 percent higher price for the luxury. There are stewards on the bus and they offer you fruit juice and cookies. You can also drink water from the tap. If you are smart enough, you can bargain the ticket price close to the ‘normal, 40 seats’ price. Persians are flexible…
Mercedes: The slow bus. In general, most of them are made in the '60s – they were considered deluxe models at that time. They help us to cover the distances between cities. Sane Iranians with a bit of extra money never use this model. Rural people and the poor are using it if they don’t have enough money or have enough time to wait. It stops at every corner, it starts when it’s full – and that takes always 5 minutes. In general the price is just the half of Volvo’s, and there is no air-conditioner, only cross-blast. Tourists like to try it, and then return to the aforementioned Swedish brand. The ~ is under protection of God, texts like ‘Always remember God’, ‘Allah Akbar’, and pictures of Ali and Hussein imams remind us of this. You’ll find covered female faces as well, which are also stuck in any place of the vehicle. According to the public opinion this phenomenon will disappear from Iranian traffic in a couple of years.
North Tehran: The part of Tehran where is nice to dwell – according to the locals. A bit less chaotic than South Tehran, people’s outfits are more westernized, they have better cars and their properties are much more expensive. According to a few people, traffic is more bearable. A proper resident of ~ never goes to the centre of the city, especially to South Tehran. So if you are going to the south with a taxi driver from the north, you have to navigate him when you reach down to 1200m above sea level. Otherwise your driver will ask for directions on every corner.
Paykan: Wonder car from Iran. Some people say the design is coming from the British Hillman Hunter, but according to the locals it’s a 100% original Iranian model. Several million of these are running on the roads. The vehicle is unsustainable both in consumption and environmentally. Only the fuel subsidy of the state and the absence of environment protection make it sustainable - as a result, the average life expectancy at birth has decreased several years in the ~ cluttered urban areas. Otherwise ~ means arrow, but the shape of the car is closer to a brick or a soap dish.
Policeman: The guy who is watching the crazy traffic with or without a weapon. His goal is to survive, never does anything in case of an accident, fire, or in any violation of regulations. He is hunting for easy victims like motorcycles without their owners parking on the sidewalk. There has never been any report of ~ helping to solve any problem.
Public transport: There is no tram in Iran so we are talking about the system of subways and buses. Because of the 15 million people in Tehran (plus 8 million daily commuter) ~ is an unbearable torture, which, considering the size of the city, has no chance of getting better. Bus lane operates on the main roads. Apart from the parks, the metro is the only clean place in the city, so after all they are not a helpless case. ~ is extremely cheap, but to go from anywhere to anywhere is better to count at least an hour of traveling if both locations are near the metro.
Roadway: The place of transportation. The difference from their European counterpart is the markings on the road: the only one reason for their existence is to employ the workers, painters. Besides that, there is no practical significance. The main rule is very simple on the ~, in several places they call this the ‘stronger dog fucks’ model. So truck are the king of kings, buses are something big, a normal car is just moving, motorbikes are true survivors, and pedestrians are literally nothing more than molluscs. In Tehran you’ll find bikers! Endangered species!
Rule of the road: Literally means the rules of the road but the Iranian ROTR book is not longer than the annual report of Aston Martin trade between Guinea and Somalia. The rules are:- Those cars whose nose is a bit ahead, even just one millimeter, or at least it seems like it is ahead, has the right of way
- The more powerful car always have the right of way
- Everybody just takes care of himself, and every driver is only looking ahead
- In the case of bump: if we made a mistake, apologize and kiss the other driver, if the other was wrong, we try to hit him, and let the mob around us calm us down.
- At the red light you can always turn right!
Shared taxi: Urban vehicle instead of buses. Its main feature is the predetermined route and the fixed tariff. Urban dwellers change 2 or 3 times on the way from A to B. They start when the car is full and the main advantage is that you don’t have to bargain the price.
Sidewalk (in cities, especially in Tehran): the roadway where pedestrians legally disturb motorbikers. In Tehran there is a wide and deep tunnel between ~ and roadway, still cars are using it sometimes, somehow. Motorbikers use it to avoid the traffic jam here, and all of the vehicles parking on the ~ when the roadside is full. Really dangerous to walk on the ~ in Tehran, bikers may hit you from the back.
South-Tehran: The place where almost everything is made of concrete and cars. A proper resident from North-Tehran refers to it in horror: ’Why are you going there?’, ’What are you doing there?’ or ’Are you crazy?’
Subway, Underground: In this aspect the brave Persians beat us (Hungarians) by decades. While we were playing mathematics with the contracts, they built three lines with the Chinese. It is more than an hour to go all the way on them. The only drawback of the ~ is that the Iranians are unable to ply. In spite of every subway cars showing the correct order and method of disembarking and boarding, at every door-opening the two crowds are going against each other, and then the rugby begins.
Taxi: The car which is free for anyone. In Iran the trade permit is not taken too seriously, so any vehicle can become a taxi if the owner just hops to the corner to buy cigarette but there he meets somebody who needs a ride to the airport. The price should be agreed in advance. The best strategy is to say a concrete amount in Farsi, which is more or less our last price. In Tehran this amount is about 20 USD. The car's status and the driver’s qualities usually don’t amount to any any standards so don’t have expectations. You can smoke in the ~, usually the driver offers you cigarette.
Traffic jam: The situation in which a proper urban Iranian dweller spends the quarter of his life.
Traffic light: Dedicated for lighting the streets and serves for a more enjoyable urban scenery, they are recommended rather than mandatory.
Volvo: The bus. It helps to transport between cities, it is fast, and almost always has western standard quality. Sometimes less (see also Mercedes), sometimes more (see also Luxury bus). Between big cities usually they go every hour, and if you go from Tehran to Qazvin, then you can take almost all the buses which are going West.
Zebra crossing: parking place, taxi terminal, market.