Sometimes, throughout our job as tour operators, we experience unique situations which amazes us on different levels. The presence of Gail Thompson, the 74-year-old American-Canadian in Iran is one of the latest amazing experiences of this type.
Just before sunset on the 9th of March 2017, while all my other colleagues had left the office and I was about to step out, the phone rang. It was an older lady’s shaky yet assertive voice who said she is interested in solo- travelling to Iran in the best possible tourism season, spring.
Her voice was warm and kind, “I used to be horse trainer in Iran”, she said and “would like to come to Iran, once again after 40 years, to see this memorable land, the monarchy’s horse farm, the horse club of the queen, the Turkmen harbour horse racing, the traditional Turkman horses and more importantly my trainees.”
Her way of explaining things was so touching that I was determined to help her by any means.
In saying that though, I was also aware that there are often sensitivities associated with the visa arrangements for those who had connections with the Shah regime and they may not be successful in getting a visa. With having these presumptions in mind, I was also aware that with the election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran, there is more of an open space for tourists to visit Iran and I would endeavour to make it happen.
Gail’s first visa attempt, coincided with the Muslim ban which president Trump introduced to ban people from 6 Muslim countries, including Iran, to the US. In a reciprocal measure, the Iranian Government ceased to issue visas to American citizens and as a result, Gail’s trip to Iran was up in the air.
Whilst corresponding with the Horse Riding Federation of Iran, we were told that after almost 4 decades during which Gail had not been in the country, people spoke of her as a punctual, well organised trainer whose unique instructions used to lead the horse riding team successfully...
Author Gail Rose Thompson announces the release of ‘Iran from Crown to Turbans’
OCALA, Fla. – As someone who has lived and worked in Iran, Gail Rose Thompson aims to share with the world how culturally and historically rich the country is, and hopes to prove that it is actually safe, contrary to how the media portrays it. Thompson’s book titled “Iran from Crown to Turbans” (published by Xlibris) depicts life in Iran during the time of the Shah, through the revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, early post-revolution and as it is in the present day.
The book caters to anyone interested in world affairs or to people who are curious about life in Iran today, under the Islamic Republic, and how it differs from life as it was during the reign of Shah Mohamad Reza Pahlavi. Thompson, who lived there in the 1970s, working for the Imperial Court as the Shah’s horse trainer, has many tales about life during that time and about the way of life in the country post-revolution, as well.
She visited Iran in 2017 after an absence of 40 years, the first ex-employee of the Shah to return. She paints a picture of a beautiful historic country that dates from the fourth millennium B.C., when the Persian Empire was the most powerful kingdom in the ancient world. Iranians are proud of their heritage — being polite, hospitable and extremely family oriented.
Ultimately, “Iran from Crown to Turbans” hopes to enlighten the readers about a country that has been misrepresented. “I want readers to understand that Iran is a beautiful safe country with a great deal of historical importance. It is a country with friendly and caring people who want to be better accepted by the West. It is a fascinating touristic place to travel,” Thompson concludes.
“Iran from Crown to Turbans”
By Gail Rose Thompson
Hardcover | 6x9 in | 390 pages | ISBN 9781984551092
Softcover | 6x9 in | 390 pages | ISBN 9781984551108
E-Book | 390 pages | ISBN 9781984551115
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
About the Author
Gail Rose Thompson grew up in Ontario, Canada, where as a young girl, she became involved in riding and training horses. She graduated from Hamilton Teachers College and taught school for several years before she travelled to Iran where she worked for the Imperial Court of Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi during the “Golden Years” of the 1970s. While there, she witnessed the country’s development as the leading power in the Middle East. Upon her arrival to Richmond, Virginia from Iran, she opened a riding school, which, over the next 40 years developed into a renowned training facility for hunter/jumper horses and riders. She returned to Iran in the fall of 2017 where she met up with old friends and spent time touring and learning about the life in the Islamic Republic of Iran as it is now. She lives in Ocala, Florida
Gail Rose Thompson's books are collections of stories of her time during a wonderful and exciting few years in the beautiful country of Iran, filled with kind, gregarious, fun-loving and intelligent people, as well as beautiful horses.