Michael Batchelor captivated members with an account of his recent 16-day trip to Iran. Who knew seven countries are neighbours; Shia Muslims make up 95% of the population; military support is given to Shias in Yemen and Syria; and it’s flag depicts a tulip and the five pillars of Islam?
Michael’s excellent photos revealed the Caspian Sea, distant snow-capped mountains, beautiful New Year painted eggs, fascinating architecture (including wind towers), ruins of antiquity, poet’s tombs, myriads of mosques, family life and beautiful restaurants that serve boring food.
He visited the oldest living thing – a 4,500 year-old tree - and the ancient city of Persepolis (500BC).  Teheran’s 12m people create traffic jams that put Tauranga’s mild congestion into perspective. Unlike Tauranga it is enriched with beautiful gardens and public art everywhere.  The eight-year war with Iraq is remembered by thousands of poignant public images of fallen soldiers.