The Second City

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Iran  ,
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

We checked out of our hotel pretty early and decided to jump in a shared taxi. They sit two in the front and three in the back of these old Hillmans. Also, no man is allowed to sit next to Lucy, but I am, as we are married, or so we tell them all !!! We asked to go to the bus station. We got dropped off where there were buses, but when we tried to buy a ticket, nobody would sell us one. They kept saying terminal. Eventually, someone who could say more than hello, explained to us that the terminal was the place to get a bus !!! We jumped into another taxi, and away we went.

Upon arrival at the terminal, we were greeted with more hellos and a guy sold us a ticket, carried Lucy's bag to the bus, and then gave us our money back as the bus was going to Tehran and would stop on the outskirts of Zanjan, which is not the way to treat tourist in Iran !!! After two more buying and returning of tickets, we found a bus that was going through the centre of Zanjan. Now, in Iran, there are two types of buses. Mercedes, which does not mean it is a Mercedes, these are generally shitters, and then there are Volvos, which could be a Mercedes, Volvo, Scania or something more luxurious. Luckily for us, ours was a Volvo. We set off. But only as far as the exit gate. It seemed that we were not full, and our bus was being like a Turkish Dolmus. After numerous stops, we were full and we were leaving the outskirts of Zanjan. This took an hour !!! By this stage, I was wondering if this bus really was a Volvo. Our bus was being overtaken by old Mercedes type buses and the seats were rock hard. It was fucking uncomfortable. After about 5 hours, we stopped. As usual, a man came to talk to me as he wanted to practice his English

Him - You are not from here, are you
ME - How could you tell
Him - Because you look like a foreigner
Me - That is right
Him - Can you speak English
Me - Yes
Him - Can we talk
Me - Yes
Him - Where are you from
Me - Australia
Him - Where are you going
Me - Zanjan
Him - So am I. I can help you get a hotel
Me - Thank you. Are you a Muslim by chance?
Him - Yes, how did you know
Me - Just a lucky guess I think !!!!!

Actually, he this guy was very helpful. As soon as the bus stopped, he showed us where our hotel was, which was lucky as it was all in Farsi, which is harder to read than Greek actually !!! I should never have failed Farsi level one. Life would have been far
easier !!!

It was time to hit the sites. There are not many really in this town, but we did view them. Actually, Iranian Mosques are very colourful. I was amazed with this. We have been to a few Muslim countries over the years and normally, they are quite dull. But this is Iran !!! I could bore you with the names but the best was the Jameh Mosque, but the Khanum Mosque, which is for women only, does rate up there. We also managed to see an old caravanserai, which had turkeys running all over it. Even more amusing was the guy who was chasing us as we took photos of the building. Fuck knows why. One thing that I did notice with this town was the amount of knife sellers. Basically, every second shop was selling them. According to a book I am reading at the moment, good Muslims should not being using a knife !!!!! I just don't get it.

Now, the main reason for us coming here was to go to another caravserai, one that had been restored and turned into a restaurant. The old LP states that you MUST eat here, so, dodgy stomach and all, away we went. We arrived pretty early, well at 8:00pm as this is the time it was open, and Lucy wanted to sit on the carpeted area, but we were already to late, they were all taken, plus we were told that all Infidels must sit at a table with chairs. We accepted our fate and found a place. Not long after, there was a line for this place, I think it was to do with us being the only Infidels in there and the whole of Zanjan wanted to take a look !!! We were quite close to the stage so we got a good look at the two bands that performed. The music was ok, but I won't be rushing out to buy their CD's !!! We also managed to order way to much food. The portions were huge. Still, the bill was only $9.00. Unbelievably cheap.

That was Zanjan. We are leaving tomorrow as we want to go to Soltaniyeh and then on to Qazvin, which is meant to be the home of all the gays in Iran !!!!!

Infidels Seen - 3
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