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Travel Writer Bruce Wannell on Iran

Travel writer Bruce Wannell will be appearing at The Bookworm on Wednesday, November 30, to talk about his adventures in Iran, a country that has much to offer intrepid travelers undeterred by the country’s often-controversial role in modern geopolitics.

Wannell, an expert on Iran and the Islamic world, has lived and traveled in Iran and Afghanistan for several years. He contributed essays on Iranian cinema, music, calligraphy, philosophy and religion to Iran — Persian: Ancient & Modern, which the Sunday Times’ foreign affairs correspondent Christina Lamb has called “a stunning guide, packed with history, that no visitor to Iran should be without.”

The veteran traveler offers would-be road warriors the following advice:

“My general advice would be to be patient, polite and enthusiastic, and to genuinely try to like and understand the people among whom you’re travelling, and to respect their culture and traditions; never dishonour or humiliate them.

At the same time, never take “NO” for an answer, insist on good quality, reward effort and good service, be generous and discriminating.

The more relevant knowledge you have before visiting the places you want to see, the better you will experience them – hence Odyssey Guides’ emphasis on historical background and also good pictures.

There are, besides, so many different types of tourism and travel: if you have introductions in the country you’re visiting, follow them up, without imposing; if you’re back-packing, develop language survival skills and remember to leave a little present or send one later for the inevitable generosity you’ll meet on the way, often from people much poorer than yourself; if you’re on business, try to take an extra day to actually get out of the air-conditioned fortresses and see something of real life around you; if you’re on a pampering luxury holiday, take a moment to read Amnesty International’s, or Oxfam’s reports on torture, poverty and injustice in the areas immediately around your little heaven ….. i.e. keep your eyes, your ears and your heart open – and then tourism – a very polluting industry – may become real travel, and a meeting of minds, and perhaps a broadening of both.”

Bruce Wannell at The Bookworm, Wednesday, November 30 7:30pm
Tickets 20rmb (members) 30 rmb (non-members)

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