Erzerum - Tabriz - Tehran
19.07.1966 - 22.07.1966
We finally set off from Erzerum around 2.30 pm with only a dozen new passengers on board, so there was still plenty of room. We soon began climbing and I think we got up to about 9000 feet at one point. There were quite a few large snow drifts left on the mountains, which were part of the Zagros range. We did not see Mt. Ararat. Rather good scenery - I have liked the scenery all the way across Turkey - it really is a spectacular country. We drove into the night and reached the Iranian border at about 10 pm, though it was 11.30 on the Iranian side. Reasonably fast movement through customs and we were in Iran and on our way to Tabriz. We were going when I fell asleep, and we were still going when I woke up the following morning.
We reached Tabriz about 7 am, where we changed money and sent a telegram to Farshid to say we would be arriving in Tehran around midnight. Then we moved on and kept going all day, except for occasional short breaks. We rapidly left the cooler mountains after Tabriz and got out into the hot, dusty, torturous country which seemed to me to be more typical of Iran. Sometimes there were large, grey, rocky masses and at other times nothing but big, parched, blobby hills of dried mud. The villages were all adobe and looked like American Navajo Indian villages. The road was pretty bad most of the way and it was an extremely exhausting journey.
Thursday 21-7-1966 and Friday 22-7-1966
Midnight came and went. We didn’t reach Tehran until 2 am, when we found the Mihan office closed and, of course, our friend not waiting. We had been delayed an hour earlier in the afternoon when the police stopped the bus and searched it thoroughly - for drugs we think. And later, after dark, we had a puncture, which was a further half hour delay. Anyway, we were two hours late in Tehran and there was no one to meet us. We went for a walk in the warm night air and waited around until about 6 o’clock before taking a taxi to Farshid’s address. He was not there either, and it turned out the whole family were up at the Caspian for a few days and would not be back till Sunday. What a blow! We had been making such good time since leaving London that we were way ahead of what we had led them to expect. It was our own fault and now all we could do was wait.
We remembered a student hostel from last time and went round to see if we could get in there. Luckily, we met a friend of Farshid’s who took us in hand, got us breakfast and then found out from the master the name of a tourist club where we could stay. We went there by taxi and, after obtaining the required letter from the tourist office, moved in. This was now early Thursday morning. We quickly fell asleep and did not wake until 2.30 pm, when we went out to change money. That done, we sat about, went to bed early, woke up on Friday and did nothing much. The heat is appalling, really oppressive; it must be near the century during the afternoon. Friday night, some German bloke across the corridor had $200 stolen from his rucksack. What a dope to keep it there! There are some pretty low looking types staying here at the moment so it was probably one of them - maybe one of the hairy gits from next door, continually drugged up to the gills with hashish.
Just another day in Tehran waiting for Farshid to turn up. We went for foreigner registration this morning and they took our passports and asked us to come back tomorrow; so we could not get our Afghan visas today. In the evening we went round to see if Farshid’s father had arrived, but no sign yet. Then we went to the hostel for dinner, and stayed until quite late talking to some of the students.
We went down at 11 and picked up the passports. Then we went to the student hostel for lunch. Then we came back to our accommodation. What a bloody dreary day. We were talking to a Canadian bloke this morning who is on his way to work in Vietnam, at $1400 per month as a construction worker. Now Ade talks about doing the same thing. Time will pass over it I imagine.
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