Iran, Part One

Posted on June 6, 2012


Having neglected to write what happened during my trip through Iran, I thought my opinion and feelings towards the place may have changed somewhat – but no.  What I got from travelling around for just over a month in a horseshoe-loop was nothing but isolation, fellowship, a half-blind view at a culture I didn’t know how to look at and a sense that I’d be back.

I planned to take a bus from a regular border-town used by the Turks and Iranians – Van.  The city itself nothing short of mundane, finding myself there in the cold light of morning and eager to get into any sort of hotel, waking up the resident receptionist from his couch slumber to give me a key and fall back asleep until his morning shift starts.  The next two days I withdrew as much money as I could from ATMs each day and converted it all into Euros and US dollars in preparation for Iran (since they have no ATMs accessible to foreigners, VISA and MasterCard mean nothing).  The bus was pleasant enough, not particularly busy and a break to stretch the legs and marvel at the barren plains and rocks surrounding us.  The bus took us to the border, and as I soon found out.. buggered off back to Van instead of taking us across to Orumiyeh.  I was asked by a border guard to take a seat (post-passport stamping) and wait – which mean please be my guest and have a cup of tea.  I didn’t know that’s what he mean and I was a little worried about missing the bus, but everyone did their best to explain you had to get a taxi from here on.  Thankfully, it was a couple of dollars and the three guys I shared with were chuckling at the price and would accept no renumeration from me.

Myself, my new Turkish and Iraqi friends found a hotel together, they had a room with four beds and cost us little for the night before going our separate ways.  I’m sure if I ended my trip in Orumiyeh, I’d be a little disappointed, but as it was, it was my first glimpse at a country rarely seen as a tourist destination.  Dark streets of fruit, phone shops, cafes and odd dirty restaurants.  My first meal was to be anything I could find – we happened upon one grotty place and was dished up some brown gravy-like substance with what I can only guess were chopped kidneys, as well as a piece of thin floppy bread.


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