The Grand Vizier JAFFAR Rules
I decided that I needed a sim-card in order to access the interwebs. Also, I wanted to look at Iran. So I took my camera and went outside.
The actual city was about a kilometer or two to the north of the hotel. On the way there I saw a lot of these signs:
And I noticed that quite a few houses were painted in bright colors:
I liked that.
But then, just when I was taking a photo, two men appeared and grabbed my arms. They had beards and they wore suits. They didn’t say anything, they just tried to get me into a car. I assumed they were either police or criminals, so I asked: “POLICE?”
They responded in Farsi and doubled their efforts. I didn’t like that. If they were police, I would cooperate, but I sure as hell wouldn’t be forced into a car by some random strangers. So I resisted. A struggle ensued. There were some bystanders, but they just stared at us. It reminded me of China, where people didn’t help each other, because helping a victim could mean tainting yourself and becoming a victim as well, as if victimhood was contagious.
Long story short, in the end a uniformed police officer appeared and they handed me over to him. That’s when I relaxed. I was taken to the police station, then back to the border, where the customs officers explained to me in English that I needed permission to take photos in Sarakhs, as it was a border town. They added that I had that permission now, and that everything was okay, and that they were terribly sorry about the circumstances.
So again I came out of the customs buildings, and I went straight to the shop where I had changed my money on the first day.
The guy who worked there was very friendly:
I got some water, and when I did I noticed this:
As alcohol was illegal in Iran, “non-alcoholic malt beverages” were apparently a thing. I didn’t try it. I would do that another time.
So I went back to the hotel, the place where I had started my stroll around town a few hours earlier:
Then I walked through Sarakhs again.
There were little pavilions everywhere, and all the women that I saw were wearing the chador:
Some of the pavilions were blasting loud music, and they apparently offered tea:
I didn’t know what to make of all this.
The colorful houses were nice, though:
I ended up in a restaurant with painted walls:
And since I was unable to read a single letter on the menu, I went into the kitchen and pointed at one of the pots:
It was pretty tasty:
It was a new experience for me to be in a place where I spoke absolutely zero of the language, and it was frustrating at times. But the people were all pretty friendly, and the restaurant owner and I managed to have a little chat about where I was from and what I was doing.
Then he showed me the artworks on his walls:
I eventually managed to get a sim-card, which felt like a giant victory. Then I walked around some more. The people were all very friendly and interested, and some even asked me to take their photographs:
I wasn’t going to have a full dinner after my late lunch, so I went to a little store:
And I got some bread, and a nice little watermelon:
Then I went home, just as the mosques were calling people to prayer:
Here’s a few clips I made during the day:
All in all, not a bad day.
Such a scary situation! Honestly, they should’ve told you about the prohibition of taking photos when you went through customs, right? They could’ve saved you the fright!
Read some books about Iran, very unique cultures.
Follow your footsteps with great interest to see this country.
At the mean time, take care!