my mother is following the blog and, while she enjoys it, she wants my next entry to be about something i really like about iran. i've thought long and hard about it and realize that so far i've loved nothing more than the FABULOUS exchange rate. perhaps it's not exactly what she meant, but if there were ever a good reason to visit (aside from the thousands of years of history, rich culture, and hospitable people) the chance to live like a queen is it! $1 USD is the equivalent of approximately 910 toman (iranian currency) and that probably means absolutely nothing to you so let's go over the cost of a few everyday items:
1 Kilo of Oranges = 800 toman ($0.88)
1 bus ticket = 20 toman ($0.02)
1 nice dinner for 2 = 10,000 toman ($11)
1 month's rent for a spacious 2-bedroom apartment in the city = 300,000 toman ($330)
and, most importantly,
1 gallon of gas = 350 toman ($0.38)
that means a person like me, who makes a decent monthly US wage of around $2,000 USD, brings in almost
$2,000,000 a month in iranian money. hooray! i'm finally a millionaire!
but, while American Ghazaleh can wave a few bucks around and gain access to just about anything she likes, the rate of items as compared to local wages reveals a bleaker picture. in this regard, unfortunately, achieving millionaire status for Iranian Ghazaleh is much more difficult. the average wage of a city dweller in Tehran can range from 100,000 - 200,000 toman a month. a quick calculation of some above items and you can see that it is no easy feat for the locals to survive. in fact, getting by in iran, according to people i've spoken to here, seems only to get harder and harder. not just because of global inflation rates and continued trade sanctions, but also because there are simply too many people and not nearly enough of anything to go around.
of course, as in any nation, there is an upper class with plenty of disposable income (and plenty to dispose of it on...you're never seen so many cell phones, shopping centers, and cars), but for the vast majority, scraping by is a way of life.
hmm...i guess this blog isn't very cheerful after all. sorry, mom, i'll try harder next time. i promise.