Eric Lurio writes a wonderful three part travelogue on modern day Iran. Titled
Part One: Tourism is not a dirty word
Few countries are as historically important as Persia. Not Iran, Persia. True, the area was to some extent called “Aryan” or “Iran” on and off for millennia for the last two and a half thousand years, it’s been Persia, and that’s what most of the people consider themselves, Persian. They speak Farsi (Persian), not Irani, but that’s a discussion for later. For now, let’s discuss why anyone in their right mind would travel half way around the world and back and spend a quarter-year’s salary (minimum wage) to go there for two weeks.
Before the 9/11 attacks, there was a company called “Now Voyager” which specialized in what were then called “courier flights.” Back in those days, it was cheaper for a company to buy a plane ticket and use the luggage space than to just ship the packages. So they would sell the seat to some poor fool who just needed a change of underwear and a small knapsack that fit in the overhead bin for up to 90% off, and viola! You could spend a week in Hong Kong, or London, Paris or Rome, for almost no money. Then there were other ways to get across the Atlantic cheap, and for a thousand bucks, you could go clear around the world…and I did. [link]