Mashad to Herat
09.08.1966 - 10.08.1966
We got the expected communal prayer chant on the bus last night and again this morning. The cheer leader was an exuberant little Arab kid from Iraq, much to everyone’s amusement. He was a happy little fellow about 12 - smart too. There must be something in it because we arrived safely in Mashad this morning without so much as a puncture. At present we have a 2 ½ hour wait until we can get another bus on toTaibad, the Iranian border town. I have just taken my first cholera pill.
The bus left on time and it was a 5½ hour ride to Taibad, or Yussuferbad, which is the other name. This was the first road where we have retraced any of the route of our original trip, and we were able to pick out a few landmarks that we remembered from before - a railway crossing, a mosque and so forth. There was a stop at Torbat-e Jam, the town where I’d had to battle for my seat on the bus last time, and then finally we reached Taibad, which is exactly as I remember it, minus the snow and the cold of course. We visited Police, Security and Customs, met some Germans and Australians who are pushing straight on by car, and then ate in a teahouse, where we are also spending the night for 20 cents. We cannot leave until tomorrow, when the bus from Afghanistan arrives. Meanwhile the town is small, pleasantly cool, rather slow and quiet - reasonably clean also. It’s a fair enough place to wait for a bus. This is the first time so far that we have been delayed 24 hours for a connection.
Taibad, a slow kind of town - the sign at the left says "Taibad Customs Office"
The Bus Station Taibad - a little busier
After hanging around all day we left Taibad in the Afghan mail bus at about 5 pm. It was the same bus that we had travelled up to the border in two years ago. Its condition had deteriorated somewhat in the last two years, from being almost new to being an incredibly battered heap. The ride was as bad as I remember. Islam Qala, the border post where I spent the coldest two hours of my life, almost frozen to death, loomed up and we were back in Afghanistan. The bus drove on into the night and we stopped about midnight to eat. It was a fabulous place - mud of course, but we sat cross-legged in a richly carpeted room and ate from the floor, served by a turbaned dwarf. There was a timelessness about it: lamplight, Afghanis, mud walls, exotic carpets - a wonderful atmosphere. We drove on, taking advantage of the cool night, passed Murphs hotel, and arrived in Herat at about 3.30 in the morning. We knocked up the Behzad Hotel and were given exactly the same room as we had two years ago. We fell asleep immediately and did not wake up until 2 pm on Thursday.
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