|13.10.99, Iran - the only terrorists are the taxis|
|Before entering Iran we still had
one more thing to do, that was to rid Rupert of his
"Rastas". So we found a friendly barber and
Rupert put his trust in this one man. It very nearly was
a mistake after chopping off the last Rasta he started to
cut a "short on the top , long at the back"
style. Luckily Rupert stopped him in time and seeing a
"Galatasaray Istanbul" poster on the wall he
began wildly pointing at the only Footballer with a
normal hair-cut. After a small discussion, the barber
then gave up on his first idea and Rupert ended up a
The border crossing into Iran was really easy even though every official seemed to be having a tea-break. We were rescued by an energetic little old man whose job it was to make every tourists first impression of Iran a positive one. So he guided us from one office to another and managed to get us through the border in less than 1 hour. It worked. This funny little man with his perfect Iranian - English made our first impression of Iran a good one, or was it seeing the price of petrol? 3 Dollars for a full tank!
In Tabriz whilst wandering around the bazaar trying not to get lost we were once again rescued, this time by the man from the tourist office. Quite an amazing coincidence as we'd just spent 2 hours looking for the place. But trying to find an Iranian who understands the words "Tourist Office" is about as easy as finding a bikini store so we gave up. Anyway Peter, the tourist office guy led us to a private English school to talk to the students.
We were of course separated as boys and girls cannot mix (not even on the bus where men are at the front, women at the back!) As luck would have it, the teacher of my class was ill so I became "teacher". Any inhibitions the girls might have had disappeared and the topic of conversation soon got around to sex! Ruperts class of more reserved boys stuck to safe subjects like Austrian economy and geography.
But both girls and boys had one wish in common. They want the western world to know that Iran is not the terrorist state people imagine it to be but an amazing country full of frendly people. After 10 days in this land we can only agree (but that's not including the taxi drivers whose driving can be described as anything but frendly!)
And so to end with the words of Sasan Izadi, a frendly farmer we met:
"Yes, Iran is a safe country ... if you only drive in the day and sleep outside a police station at night!"