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Zahedan

sunny

At last I managed to catch some superb desert scenery on the 5 hour trip east to Zahedan. Under another clear sky, distant black mountains occasionally set the horizon, otherwise the desert was billiard table flat and featureless golden dirt in the main. At times smoothly contoured but undulating hills were fantastically striped in red, gold and green minerals and looked just like the sea bed they had probably once been. Charmless, grubby Zahedan had the reputation of a frontier town and the road in certainly set the scene, it was like a panorama from a western. Arriving at the bazaar the difference in people was immediately apparent. Baluchis in Shalwar Kameez, Afghans in turbans, Shamags aplenty, even some Central Asians of a scary Mongol genre. It was a tad intimidating it had to be said, especially when young blue eyes attracted heavy stares from Talib looking punters, it was like going back in time. With one hotel "full" and another shut down, I reluctantly ended up shelling out a negotiated 20,000 Toman on a mid-range den, at about 13 quid the most expensive room of my trip to date and I had had better for half the money. The TV doled out the same insipid recipe of twee wildlife, religious patronising and scarcely veiled propaganda, they would quote from obscure sources like Chinese Radio of anything even vaguely denigrating to the West, however inept it may have been. An example was : "British police in future may have to face open hearings in cases of incompetence", like it happens every day. Correspondingly lame dogma was doled out in the regimes favour, such as : "President Ahmedinejad predicts success for Iran in all sectors in the future". To think some people get paid to correlate this shite. It was almost fortuitous that there was nothing to see or do in Zahedan since the afternoon had to be devoted to changing money (at the bank for once, straightforward), burning photos (quick and cheap) and trying once again to send my parcel of surplus gear home (impossible). The main post office had moved and after a concerted effort to find the new one with only vague directions, I plumped for a taxi to find it in a residential area within minutes of my hotel. Though others were served without incident, I got the familiar "farda" (tommorrow) treatment and came pretty close to losing my rag for once in managing to explain in my finest Farsi that I was off to Pakistan tommorrow and this was the 5th city from which I had tried and failed to send it. The locals found it all quite amusing. After that wild goose chase I still couldnt rest since I had to buy food for the impending trip, a hat and gloves (the train was notoriously cold in winter) and track down a net cafe which I failed to find. I did strike it lucky though in (literally) sniffing out a teahouse instead, they were surprisingly elusive but the smell of qalyan wafting out of the door gave it away. For a local joint it was very nicely decked out and I became the star attraction for a while, sharing my pipe with Abdul the owner and his mate. There was still a shower to have and bags to sort out before I collapsed, too tired even to watch Chelsea live on TV.

FARSI WHICH GOT ME THROUGH IRAN

Hello - Salam
Goodbye - Khoda'afez
Yes - Bale
No - Na
OK - Bashe
Thankyou - Merci, Mottashakeram
Sorry/Excuse me - Bibakhshid
I don't understand - Na mifahman
Where is the .......? - ....... koja st?
My name is Andy - Esmam Andy-e
Tonight - Emshab
Tommorrow - Farda
Morning - Sob
Evening - Shab

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iran

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