Don't fool with us!
Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
135Trip End Ongoing
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When we arrived in Kerman, the usual sleazy taxi drivers were lurking about all trying to get us into their cars. We agreed on a price and set off (1 Khomeini = 10,000 rials). When we arrived at our hotel David gave him a 20,000 note but the driver tried it on saying he didn't have change. David started to see red. We were sick of these bloody taxi drivers!! He then produced two 5'ers but only gave David one. We were due both of them. He grabbed the other. Then the driver went over and started having words with the reception boy. When we went in to ask for a room he said he had none. That was it, David lost it completely and grabbed the taxi driver and shoved him out into the street and told him to drive away quickly (insert necessary colourful language here). We walked away until the taxi driver had disappeared and I went back and negotiated a room. It was the quietest we'd had in the whole of Iran!!! We even had a new fan!
We walked around the bazaar and tried to search out the carpet section. But there were none. All we could find were 'city' carpets. The newer style. No nomad carpets to be seen. We found the Hamum-E Ganj Ali Khan, which is an old hamman that has been restored and turned into a museum. There are weird wax figurines showing what went on in each section. I would love to go to one for women. It looked really relaxing with all the different rooms for massage and baths. We found the Jameh Mosque but there isn't too much more to Kerman. A few other mosques and shrines so we just wandered round the bazaar and streets searching for these bloody nomad carpets. Fruitless. A few guys led us around trying to convince us there were nomad carpet shops but they didn't really know their arses from their elbows.
Now that Bam-E Arg has gone the next best thing (according to the LP) is the Arg at Rayen. So off we went. We went to the taxi rank where all the out of town taxis are as it's a good 88km out of Kerman. The taxi drivers there kept saying 'Bam. Bam.' They were starting to sound like BamBam from the Flinstones! They were idiots and couldn't get it through their thick skulls that we wanted to go to Rayen. We both lost it as them and told them to jam their prices to Bam. We walked off and tried to negotiate with the unoffical taxis. They laughed at our prices but when we stared to walk away the prices plummeted! We got our bargain price, and along with a trip out to a mud brick town in god-knows-where, we eventually made it to the Arg of Rayen. The caretaker was cleaning his rifle so we were careful to smile and listen to his instructions (!). We were allowed up on to the ramparts and took photos. It was fantastic. Just our cup of tea. We wandered all around the places snapping away. They were restoring this place too. The caretaker opened some doors for us and gave us some information. There had been a rich persons section and a governor's mansion/palace where we wandered around on the roofs (main restorations are taking place here. I think it's going to be a restaurant), a gymnasium and a load of stables, a bazaar and a barracks too. We loved it! Climbing all over the mud ruins and up into probably unstable remains of a mosque. The care taker had been really nice to us and as there is no official entrance fee we tipped him as we left. As we exited the ruins the afternoon call to prayer was ringing out from the tops of the minarets. With the bare mountains in the distance, the green of the trees and the Arg in the background, the sound of the preachers singing had a beautifully exotic feel and was quite relaxing. No, I'm not about to convert, but sometimes the sound of the singing sends my imagination reeling!! Back down to earth though, our next task was to find a taxi for the right price back to Kerman. Bargaining our outward bound trip had been difficult enough. But we eventually found the right price in a shared taxi and headed back. The other passengers were really nice and bought gum for us. We had really enjoyed the day. If Rayen was like that I wonder what Bam would have been like. They say it was huge.
Back in Kerman, one of the things we wanted to do was go and spend a night or two with the nomads or in the desert so we went in search of this guide that was supposed to be really good. He had been difficult to track down (his name is in the LP) and initially his trips sounded pretty good but on further questioning they started to sound like a complete rip. As it was getting closer to winter we thought the nomads may have started their trips away to the warmer places. So we asked about that trip. He said there were still nomads around, so we're thinking a whole community, but he then said there were only three or four tents left. Sounds like the lazy ones who can't get their acts together. We though that sounded a bit rubbish so we asked about the trip to the desert. My idea is that we go off four wheel driving into the dunes and camp under the stars in the middle of nowhere. But his idea is driving along an ashphalt road in a station wagon and either going to a camp site where we would have to pay extra (what was the other $US70 for?) or camp 100 metres from the road. PLUS the guide that would take us couldn't speak english. We, and the other spanish couple that were there, all exchanged looks, said we'd call and made a hasty exit. And that was Kerman. It's not a place that I will hurry to return to.
Bam was next. Our last town before crossing into Pakistan. We wondered what we'd see. It isn't even two years since the place was flattened by an earthquake.