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.