The last few days 18-27/10/10

Posted: October 30, 2010 in 6.Iran

If one more thing goes wrong with this *£%$ing car I’m going to leave it in the bloody desert for the massive vultures, surprisingly rare camels, and the carpet making Nomads. Yes, we have more problems, no I’m not happy about it and yes I should have bought a Toyota, words I never thought I would utter and words that will see me set adrift, cast a side and excommunicated from the Land Rover world.

After spending a few days in the desert town of Yazd and a couple more days enjoying the sights of Shiraz it was time to push on to the coast. From Shiraz the road to Bandar Abbas and the ferry to Dubai is a 12 hour slog through the desert.We decided that this was not a good idea for the car and our relationship; it gets damn hot in that car, which doesn’t do much for tempers. We actually had a proper fight the other day over the length of my hair: I, and the rest of the world think it looks great, Megan demanded, yes demanded I get it cut. It’s yet to be resolved. So we sensibly broke the trip up with a stop over at a town called Sirjan. The Lonely Planet only recommends one hotel but unfortunately provides no map. After an hour of searching I swallowed my pride and pulled over to ask for directions. “Of course I can help you”, said the friendly man with his entire family on a motorbike, ‘follow me’.  What followed was a mad chase through the city alleys for half an hour only to end up on the outskirts of town nowhere near any hotel because he was taking us to his house!?! It turns out that he knew no English. It was very kind of him but after driving all day in 40 degrees only a ‘look’ from the navigator made me hold my tongue before I launched into a barrage of insults. I simply smiled politely and drove back into town. Finally, only after driving down a few one way streets, having to ‘chat’ to the police, and two more hours had passed did we find the hotel.

The next day we drove our final leg in Iran and headed over the mountains to Bandar Abbas. It was only a distance of about 300kms but it was 300kms of trucks. I have never seen so many trucks in one go, and I’ve been to a truck show. It was quite an amazing sight but it did make for some rather slow progress. The road was littered with the carcasses of dead lorries that had found peace at the side of the highway and there were several tunnels without ventilation; driving through them was like putting your mouth over an exhaust pipe, ummmmm nice. We finally arrived 6 hours after we set off, averaging about 50kms an hour, (just worked that out in my head by the way) and for a change we found the hotel in under 2 hours, a new record.

The day before the ferry we went to the ferry office to find out about tickets. It was all well organised and only took a couple of hours, and we left $800 poorer but optimistic about our cruise across the gulf… right up to the moment we tried to start the car. Nothing. Rien. Nichts. Niente. Nada. The immobilizer had broken. I took the dash apart and after fiddling with a few wires the engine burst into life and we drove off to find a garage. Again. No one seemed to understand the problem and it was only once the local English teacher had been dragged out of school that we managed to get our message across. After an hour of no joy I finally rang the company that installed it and was told how to bypass it, which is worryingly easy. Bloody car.

So with the car slowly dying our final day in Iran started early. We were told to get to customs at 8am, even though the ferry didn’t leave until 2200. The night before we had filled up every available container with diesel, adding another 300 tonnes to the car so we hoped they wouldn’t weigh us, as we would no doubt have to pay extra! Customs only took a few hours and we were finished by 11’ish, leaving us with nothing to do but sit in the terminal playing enthralling games of eye spy for the next 11 hours. We’ve had more exciting days.

We finally boarded the ferry at 2100 and well, let’s just say the Greek ferry in comparison was the QM2. It was a fifthly, cockroach infested hell hole, no exaggeration as the photos below prove. It was just a nasty experience that I don’t want to relive so please don’t make me. I’m trying awfully hard to repress it and Megan is still in a mild state of shock; she wakes up in the middle of the night screaming about giant ants in her cabin. One up side was that we met fellow travelers with whom we could share stories and mutter about the state of the ship and how Europe is soooo much more civilized.

So that was Iran. How to sum up? It’s interesting and the novelty value stays with you the whole way through. There are some fascinating sights but it’s the people who make the country and who left us with the most endearing memories of the place. Two weeks was enough; we were both ready to move on and I doubt we will go back. However people should visit, just be prepared for constant staring, 20,000 offers of tea, some nasty police, friendly locals, a pocketful of money that has no real value, and an interesting story at the end of it all.

P.S. We went to Persepolis, it was alright.

  1. Paul says:

    ‘went to the ferry office to find out about tickets. It was all well organised and only took a couple of hours, and we left $800 poorer ‘ – Just like being back in Rosslare then 🙂

    Like the Ferry photos….. You could have told them IF are trying to sell one in slightly better condition!!!

  2. Michiel says:

    Hi guys,

    Very interesting and funny reading so far.
    Hope you get the car soryed out in dubai.
    Have some gearproblems myself now. Broken off tooth on main cluster. 😦
    Have to take it apart and fix it soon.
    Don’t give up on thelandy….


  3. Sandy says:

    Yo yo!

    Loving the posts- was pretty sure you were employing a ghost writer but have now realised that with all the 5* hotel stops you probably can’t also squeeze a ghost writers salary out of your budget too.

    Sounds like you’ve had one or two hairy moments- but hopefully they’ll just make you appreciate the smoother ones a bit better. If it was all plain sailing you’d just get bored. I’m well aware that you would probably consider it blissful rather than boring, but I felt I had to say something.

    Oh, and if you go anywhere near Doha, Qatar, give my brother a poke on facebook as he is living out there and has a two bedroom apartment. He’d be delighted to see you both. I mean the novelty may wear off after 15 minutes or so, but he’d definitely be delighted for those first 15 minutes.

    Good luck and godspeed. I shall continue to read from the comfort of my armchair with the observer magazine and sky sports on. Think all my future travelling may now be done vicariously through others. Its a lot cheaper/more comfortable/hassle free. If a little boring…

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