In my ongoing effort to find new and inventive ways to worry the crap out of my poor mother, I finally boarded a flight to Shiraz in Southern Iran on the Arabian take on Easyjet. After numerous payments to an extortionist sponsor in Tehran, an endless Sisyphusian battle with Iranian bureaucracy and a sizeable donation to furry-faced Armadinajad, I’d managed to secure a visa for a two week stint in the dark beating heart of the Evil Axis.
There’s no poetic way of putting it – after just 5 minutes of sitting on the runway, we’d barely gotten through the pre-flight prayer and it was brown trousers time. Minutes from takeoff, a fellow at the back of the plane suddenly started hollering something about God with half a dozen others. Embarrassingly, it was enough to induce a mini-panic attack – my heart raced and the colour must have visibly drained from my face since my fellow passengers (in a four-row radius) began cracking up. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for folks to get some jazz-chanting going when they’re keyed up – especially on flights or at a concert or celebration. Shouting on a plane is alarming anywhere – but especially when done in a Middle Eastern language en route to Iran. I eventually laughed along, but damn Iran – you scary!