NICK VAN TIEM
                                                    WORK / ABOUT




SMASHED CARS, SAND GRAINS & HIDDEN VODKA
Published in White Lies Magazine


I have to admit I was afraid when I solo traveled to Iran. A country that could be considered dangerous, anti-western and hostile. Media show crowds burning American flags, nuclear deals with scary old men, executions on the streets, neighbouring countries submerged in terror. What did I get myself into?

My fear, prejudice and nerves disappeared the moment I set foot on Iran soil. It took me two hours to be drinking tea in the home of an Iranian family. It was in the weeks that followed that I experienced a different Iran; couples secretly holding hands on the street, women not wearing a hijab the moment they entered a private space, a bottle of vodka behind every closet, a market for USB sticks containing illegal American music, grandma’s sewing western brand patches on everything they could get their hands on. It seemed that everything the government was trying to impose on society was being ignored the moment you entered a space with four walls.

I found myself driving through the desert in the middle of the night with my new Iranian friends, blasting some Kendrick classics - Fuck the system, fuck the truth, fuck religion, fuck the government, fuck the law, fuck the prisons. This no man land provided them with the possibility to do just that. While watching our campfire slowly burn down we did not discuss politics, but what it meant to be alive.