Iran: When is a Door Not a Door?
Euromoney staff have committed no end of humiliating faux pas around the world over the years, but we like to think we broke new ground earlier this month by accidentally climbing out a window in the middle of a business lunch in Iran.
It was like this. Euromoney, having seen much of the financial services industry in Tehran, had decided to follow journalist Martin Lewis’s long-standing advice that “if you want to know a country, get out of the capital,” and so had headed south to gain a better understanding of the investment opportunities that will soon open in post-sanction Iran.
To this end we headed to the town of Kashan and the Saraye Amierha hotel, which is representative of an emerging wave of high-end boutique accommodation. Housed in a meticulously restored 18th century house, one of several built by wealthy merchants in an earlier lucrative age, it has retained all its original fixtures, including some doors with very high steps built into the door-frames.
It can therefore be imagined how an open restaurant window, with a similarly high-based frame, looked a lot like it might be a door leading to the toilets. But having deftly leapt about two feet to the floor on the other side – you get a lot of precipitous steps in these places, so that didn’t seem all that odd either – Euromoney found itself in a completely different room totally unrelated to the restaurant.
You would be surprised how hard it is to maintain an air of calm professionalism after having exited a business lunch through a window, all the more so when it becomes necessary to climb back in again. Euromoney was assisted in this respect by the hotel waitress, who pursued us with a calm admonishment. “In fact, sir, this is not a door.”