vrijdag 10 augustus 2012

From Zahedan and the rest of Iran, to the Border with Turkey

After a very nice breakfast we pay the bill of the hotel ın Zahedan and there they were again, the police….. and of course they wanted to escort us to Bam. We said about a thousand times that we did not need and not wanted an escort but they incisted so we made clear that we did not want to wait for them and that we will ride our own speed. They agreed but after 1 km there was the first checkpoint again and we had to wait for them. We looked at each other and we drove on without them. All the way to Bam we had no troubles at all! We drove through the desert and it was pretty warm agaın. The scenery changed constantly, rough mountains and flat rocky deserts continuely varied and the colours changed from every tone brown to grey, so beautiful! Early in the afternoon we arrived in Bam and we went to the Akbar guesthouse, to Akbar English. We asked in Bam for the guesthouse and a man with his little son on a motorbike showed us the way. Mr. Akbar is a retired English lecturer and he has a guesthouse now. There were 2 french guys with a Landrover travelling to Australia. We got a really warm welcome there with tea and cool water and a bit later lunch was served!

At the end of the afternoon we went mr. Akbar’s brother to the old city of Bam wich was destroyed during the earthquake some years ago. He explained everything to us. Unesco is now renovating the old city. It was hard to hear that he has lost his 21 year old pregnant daughter during the earthquake…… the pain was coming up extra hard telling us about it…… he himself broke his back that time and talking about his daughter the pain in his back came up; before talking about it, he did not reached for his back and now constantly.
While we were waitıng for mr. Akbar to pick us up, we met a lot of women and spoke to them and also wıth young school girls. We were told by couples we met during our trip who went to Iran, that the Iranian women did not speak to them and looked very angry at them but we have different experiences!!! Maybe because we are travelling as 2 women without men. We met a lot of interesting people and everybody said the same……. They hate the regime and hate the strong rules of it. We can’t imagine how it is to live in a country where women are worth nothing and that nobody is allowed to dance, even in there own house. Lot’s of music is forbidden. The people live in a cage, a beautifull cage that I must say. Bam looks modern to us compared we have seen during our travel, everyting you can buy in the stores, even gold fısh! The next mornıng mr. Akbar escorted us to the fuel station and he paid our petrol!

We headed towards Sirjan by Jiroft and Baft. This a very nice road through the mountains. Again rough desert sights with sand storms and twisters and slowly we got up to an altitude of 2800 metres without hairpin curves! The Iranians build perfect roads right through the mountains and everytime we went over or through a mountains we see a different scenery. Purple, grey and green, the rocks contain a lot of minerals here. The traffic is very pushy and we have to drive on the right side of the road again and we have to get used that we are not the fastest anymore. It’s life threathening to drive here!. Because it is ramadan we thought that we could not get food during the day. In a small village we stopped and asked if we could get some lunch somewhere. Ohhhhhh they said……. Pizza, sandwich, kebab is over there and they pointed to a restaurant wıch seemed to be closed. As we entered the restaurant a lot of people were eating there and we had a nice time. It is not so hot anymore; we are on 2000 metres now.

About 40 km’s before Sirjan I stopped in a nice desert. Mirjam asked me: Why are you stopping? I said: voor zand voor Rob (I promissed Rob Plas some Iranian sand from a desert) and she did not understand me so I said it about 10 times to her. What did she understand from what I was saying…. Zand voorop (sand in front). We had a big laugh about that!!

We arrived in Sirjan and we took the first hotel we saw. A nice man who was staying in the hotel invited us for diner that night with 5 Chinese men and another Iranian man who lives in Bejing who was translating for the Chinese men. We went to a nightclubbish place for diner and had a very nice time. It was really a classy joint with lounge seats and a pool table. Forbidden Iranian music was played and water pipes were smoked. At a big table there was a birthday party going on and Mirjam and I felt very happy when we heard that the ladies were singing Happy Birthday!!

The next mornıng we had breakfast in our room and I was not feeling very well…… my stomach ached for I was worried about the steep we had to go up from the parking…. Stupid me, it was easy when I was up….. We went to Yazd and after 10 km’s we discovered that we had forgotten our passports so we went back to the hotel to pick them up and headed again for Yazd. Now my front tire was flat. We pumped it up and drove on. There was a warm wind but not too hot and the road was perfect again. At 14.30 hrs we arrived in Yazd and we took a lovely 1001 nights fairy tale hotel, Hotel Dad. We bargained agaın, of course! After setteling we we went to the bazaar. We heard that that was nice and beautiful but it was nothing like that. Awful clothes, electronics, fabrics brrrrr terrible. Here is a totally other atmosphere. The most women wear totally black clothes like burka’s. Nobody talkes to us and we were ignored.
We had diner in the hotel and we were told that in hotels we did not need to wear our scarfs so we sat in the garden where the restaurant was without them. According to Jaffar (an Iranian man who spoke Englisch which is a big exception here) we had started a revolution! Eating without scarfs!!!! But nobody of the hotel said something about it to us.

The next morning we left for Esfahan. Before we went the girls of the reception came outside and sat on my bike. We took some very nice pictures of them! We drove very swift to Esfahan so we were somewhere around noon there. Looking for a hotel took a lot of time but we’ve found a very beautiful Hotel, The Piroozi. Agaın bargaining until we got it almost for half price. We would stay for 2 days in Esfahan. I treated Mırjam on this hotel for I got some money of a friend of mine and he said in Holland: If you are tired, take a nice hotel and think of me when you do that. So….. I (we) did!!!! We went to the big square with the bazaar around it, of wich I forgot the name. We got a tour behind the touristic scene. We saw the big stone where spices were grinded. Now by machine but ın the old days camels were walking in circles around the stone. Beautiful light came trough a hole in the ceiling and we took some pictures of it. We also went to the work shops were they repair the carpets, very interesting! We also went to a place where they made the mosaic tiles for mosques and other objects. All hand made! At the end of the day we sat at the pond in the middle of the square and we had a nice chat with an eleven year old girl.
The next day we went to the famous bridge by foot and had a nice walk for a change. And everywhere we meet people with the same sad story…… When we say that Iran is a beautiful country after they asked us what we find of Iran, they say: Iran WAS a beautiful country, before the revolution!!!! So many things were destroyed!!!!

After 2 days in Esfahan we headed to Qorveh. We ended up up there after a warm long drive of 630 km’s. There there are a lot of marble-mines wich give the landscape a stunning colourfull view. We are riding between 4000 metres high mountains! The valleys are very fertile and green and a lot of agriculture. The wheat is harvested already here. Just before Hamedan Mirjam has a flat tire and we put in a plug and took out the wheel for the tire was not completely fitting the rim anymore. Just when we where discussing how to fıx it a truck stopped and the driver helped us out with a compressor. We even got tea and grapes and water from him! We had a hold up and we ran out of water and decided to stop for a drink. Hamedan was very close but there were no shops with food; only with mable grave stones….. We decide to drive on even it’s becoming late. After Hamedan the traffic is terrible busy, lots of truck and busses with a lot of exhaust gasses. We stop in Qorveh and look for a hotel which was not easy. Nobody speaks English and it seems no foreigner ever stopped here. The first hotel was dirty so we had to do something else. Then a young boy showed us to another hotel. We parked the bikes in front of it and the manager said that they were full. We did not believe it and İ sort of begged him for a room. İt was late and we were tired and hungry. And yes, he had a room. So many people gathered round the fence.... we felt lıke monkeys in a zoo!!! A Kurdısh guy from Teheran spoke some Englısh and he translated for us. We had dinner in the hotel and as we were eating an ayatollah entered the buildıng and a lot of other people and they had a meeting there. Also other people came for dinner and one family wanted to take pictures with us. First the daughter and then the mother stood beside us and the father took the pictures. The hotel was very basic and the next morning we left without breakfast to Tabriz, our last stop in Iran.

Again lots of agriculture with high mountains. We see the people change. Kurdic clothes and western clothes have the upper hand here. We stopped for breakfast somewhere and a young guy sat with us and incisted to buy it for us. After saying 20 times no we agreed. The scenery remains very nice and ın the afternoon we drove into a little traffic jam. We had to go from 3 lanes to 1. There was a police checkpoint and everybody could continue their route but we had to pull over. The police was screaming and shouting at us and we did not understand what was going on. They were very hostile and nobody could explain what they wanted from us. Finally we understood that we needed to come to the police station and again they wanted our passports. We understand that they want to see them but we don’t want then to keep them. So fight no 3 was borne……… Mırjam shouting and I got physical again when a police man was trying to move my bike even when it was locked and it easy could fall down. After argueing for quiet some time we drove on….
We stopped for lunch after a few km’s and had a melon, yoghurt and pomme granate juice. Finally we reached Tabriz. We stayed in hotel Sina and the next day we drove to the Irani-Turkish border. We are enjoying Iran for the last 300 km’s and then we reach the border by noon. We had several borders to cross but what happened here beats everything!!!!
To be continued!!!!!!

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