These women know how to party!

Four days of workshops, meetings with influential people, sharing meals with family and friends (and a bout of food poisoning) and it is time for Alison to leave us. I have been asked to stay on for a couple of days to contribute to a workshop in another province – only to find on arrival in Iran that this wasn’t happening. So tomorrow we are off to Isfahan. But meantime party time to bid Alison farewell.

We had been invited to Parvin’s home to give Alison a great send off. This is a beautiful apartment with a garden. I remembered seeing pictures of this garden when exchanging photos before we came to Iran. As soon as we arrive we are invited to change into party dresses or at least remove scarf and leggings (I did bring one dress as advised by an Iranian colleague but we had had no time to go back to the hotel to pick it up)! Our hosts had come prepared and quickly change and later we are joined by others who are hiding party dresses under long jackets. All beautifully made up with gorgeous nails and red lips, the norm for women and midwives here whether in public or private, work or at play!

So as is customary we are invited to share a huge bowl of fruit and drink tea. Leila shows us how, on these beautifully ripe local pomegranates, the like of which I have never seen in the UK, it is possible to squeeze around the fruit and then drink the juice through a straw. Tastes so much better when eaten in the country of origin.

Time then for dancing and much chat. The noise level and degree of excitement is running high. Some dressing up, some singing, lots of persuasion to dance – Alison’s middle eastern dancing was beautiful – she has either been practising or she catches on quick! They sure do know how to party. Out in the garden for a while for more photos – I have never had my photo taken so much……….

Meantime Parvin’s daughter is preparing dinner. This seems to be the usual practice here in Iran – in every family group we dined with, it was the daughters preparing food. Must drop a bit hint to those two daughters of mine!

So we are served a lovely meal as a buffet and then more tea/coffee, more dancing til almost midnight. Don’t these women ever sleep? Luckily we have a lie in in the morning until we are picked up at eleven.

Then Arazoo and her sister take us home. Have I mentioned the traffic? Well Arazoo is the most amazing driver in this traffic. She must have practised from an early age on one of these games consul driving games. Wheel in one hand, phone/changing music/checking lippy with the other hand, she drives with her foot to the floor, or on the brake, like you have never seen before. If she wasn’t so ‘safe’ ‘in control’ I would be worried. Although at least on this occasion Alison has braved the front seat.

And so we say goodbye to Alison. This adventure would have been very different without her – where did I get the sudden impulse to invite her? Even though she initially thought I was inviting her to Arran!

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