Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Three girls approached me at the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and said “do you want tour guides? We hope to practice English.” I hesitated for a moment, trying to read their facial expressions to determine if their intentions were truly pure.
Hong Kong beckons as one of world’s most capitalist cities to many of us living in or having visited the place. Many of us were raised to value things in money terms. Hardly will you see a stranger offering you free service on the street, not to mention three young girls who are supposed to be busy with their schoolwork since school started early September. Children in Hong Kong are so used to devoting all their time and effort to outperforming one another in every aspect. They have no time for mutual learning and interactions with new people. These three Iranian girls’ action then just seemed a bit strange to me.
Despite some worries, I accepted the invitation. They toured me around the square and one end of the bazaar and asked if I was hungry. I was not, but I said yes, because I wanted to sit down and rest a little bit after a long walk.
They told me “guests are friends of God”, so they insisted on treating me to a famous Iranian sweet food—Faloodeh shirazi. It’s a kind of dessert that puts together ice cream and sweet noodles in rose water and super sweet syrup. We talked about studies, Iranian school system, love, and more, and I showed them some of the photos I had taken when I was visiting China last year. They have never been to anywhere outside of Iran, so they were all very excited to see more about the world. After the food, we walked around and had to say goodbye as I went back to the hostel.
A day ended. No pickpocketing. Nothing lost. Friendship gained. And I’ve learnt more about what it takes to become a person who trusts and be trusted.
Iran is just beyond belief.