Friday, April 04, 2008

Job of the Day: Late Night Arctic Circle Kebab Salesman

Doing it tough in Longyearben is an Iranian, who is providing a valuable late night service to frozen drunks in the Arctic Circle.

How the native of hot and bustling Tehran went on to win the unofficial title of "world's northernmost kebab seller" comes down to the vagaries of early 20th century geopolitics.

Under a 1920 treaty, Svalbard is an international zone under Norwegian sovereignty that requires no tourist or resident visas. So when Norway rejected Ariaiwand's asylum application in 2003, he fled as far north as you can fly on a commercial flight - to this land of legal limbo.

When he arrived in Longyearbyen, the main settlement of about 2,000 people, he had no job or accommodations. Left behind on the mainland were his son, then 15, and ex-wife, who both won permission to stay in Norway.

Realising his stay could be a long one, he went into business last year as a kebab seller, opening The Red Polar Bear in his bright red truck parked on a public lot at the centre of tiny Longyearbyen.

I wonder if he also serves dessert? That and think of all the cold weather foof franchise opportunities. And also consider some of the geographies that this concept may work. And also diversification into polar bear burgers could be considered. The options are endless.

Being a refugee can be tough. I have moved countries many times, but my moves have been a lot easier than this Iranian refugee. My sister in law is Iranian and has managed to build a successful life in the UK after leaving Iran with her brother in the 1980s. Her barriers were a little less challenging than this guy.


Nunyaa said...

Mmmm kebabs, chicken is the best.

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