City of the Revolution
The train ride was an experience. We took second class, so we were packed into a small cupboard with 4 other people, who happened to be fulfill a stereotyped cross-section of Iranian society. There was a Qu'ranic scholar, a soldier, a carpet salesman an a businessman (who sold shirts and shoes).
They were very eager to talk to us, even with their limited english, and had lots of questions, ranging to when we are going to get married to where we are from (the discussion about my face lasted about 2 hours). Postcards from London and Time magazine also took up about an hour or so, which really got the interest of most of them, except for the carpet salesman, who played the "my culture is so much older than yours" card. The Qu'ranic scholar seemed very liberal, oddly enough, and had many questions about girls. The soldier insisted on paying for our meal (which was basically dog food), which was pretty akward because he earns about a quarter of a pittance a month.
After a long and sweaty night (it was really hot, and for some reason, the window had to be shut), we arrived to the legendary crazy traffic and tree lined boulevards of Tehran.
On the drive to the hotel, it was fascinating to look out of the window. The atmosphere is very different from that of Tabriz. Many more women in chadors (big black sheets), and there are murals everywhere of Khomeni, Khameni and other beardy-people, as well as slogans of "Down with USA" and pictures of the statue of liberty with a skull (on the ex-US embassy, now dubbed the "US Den of Espionage").
Military checkpoint count: 3 (although the border was a really crap one).