Ed Hardy in Mashhad
These days I am stuck in Mashhad which is one of the best cities in the world to visit as a result of fantastic architecture, great people, lovely climate (for right now at least) and lots of great tobacco!
I had a long, crappy day dealing with pencil neck bureaucrats and so I went off in search of a decent meal and a smoke with my translator and after successfully having dealt with the former we went to little cafe near by for some great Ghalyoon action.
Much to my surprise the owner spoke a bit of English and recommended that we have an Al-Shamim (a popular Iranian made moassel that is washed but not highly processed) Saffron and plain mix. I have to say it was a delightful mix of fig, saffron and mildly sweet molasses flavours that went great with the platter of tea and fruit we had.
After a relaxing time smoking and drinking tea and losing at backgammon I saw a huge blond guy with a buzzcut walk in that looked like a more fit version of Drew Carey carrying a briefcase in one hand and a hard, Mya like travel case in the other. He plopped himself down at the table next to us proceeded take out various little religious tracts out of his briefcase give them to the locals. He came over to my table and hit me up with with whole "have you found Jesus" bit and was definitely giving off an Elmer Gantry meets Lee Ermey sorta vibe. The locals were just ignoring him which was surprising given how loud and aggressive he was being. I told him to chill out and "when in Rome do as the Roman would do" to which responded that "that jeebus (that's how he pronounced it) expects more from his servants".
About this time he busted out this Ed Hardy rig out of his carry case and set up, loading the bowl with SB Blue Mist and lighting a bunch of instant coals. The owner looked pissed but didn't say anything.
About this time someone noticed the 1940s cheesecake style graphic on the vase and told the owner. The owner got all pissed and started complaining about it being "pornographic" and the locals started fussing which got the bible thumper to start squawking about how "I'm an American and I got a right to do what i'm doing". I told him that his rights stop once he goes over the boarder and he best pack up his stuff and get.
About this time a couple members of the local morality police (yes, they really do call them that) popped into see what the fuss was all about and they were less then happy to see the religious propaganda and the pinup girl vase. After a bit of yelling they dragged the bible thumper and his gear off. I had my translator call the Swiss embassy since they handle American diplomatic stuff and find out what happened to the dolt. Basically the Iranian government deported him with all possible haste although I have no idea what happened to his Ed Hardy rig.
The moral of the story is that when you travel abroad you respect local customs and mores and behave as any good guest should. If can't manage that then expect to be treated the way any obnoxious trespasser would.