Reports from Iran
I arrived well in Esfahan and managed also to find Javad at the bus terminal. He has a very nice family and his house is not far away from Esfahans center with all the monuments - Esfahan has really a lot of places to visit.
Today I made just some steps through the basaar, they have a lot of different handcrafts here, and I visited a Mosque at the Imam Square, the most famous square of the vity, and a palace at the same square. Tomorrow, I want to visit the two biggest mosques of Esfahan and also try to extend my visa some days (my train ticket Teheran Tabriz is for the 5th september but my visa already expires this Friday). And if there is still time, also try to see the river with its bridges and recreation areas.
Wednesday will be a big holiday in Iran. It is the supposed birthday of the last Imam, who disappeared. Javad told me that sometimes there are aggressive youth in the street because it is the only day of the year where they are allowed to do everything they want. But I`ll see, if they are too bad, I just stay at home during evening. In every case, they won`t be worse than the man who came yesterday to the entrance of my hotel in Yazd and made really bad signs (he could become a porno actor...) which nobody else could see than me. He disappeared and came back half an hour later and made the same signs. I said the Irish guy `the man is back` and the man disappeared and wasn`t seen any more. Totally, there were three bad men in Yazd. That throws a shadow above the impressions of the nice old streets and fascinating surrounding desert with mountains. Until now, no bad man appeared in Esfahan. Hope it stays like this...
Sorry yesterday I had time but login didnt work and now I just have some minutes because I want to buy a watermelon with an Irish traveller whom I met in my Yazd hotel and as it is Friday, Iranian holiday, we should not try to buy it too late.
Travel with night train from Gorgan to Teheran was hard but then I ate wonderful cookies in Teheran and the train from Yeheran to Yazd was first class and very very luxurious...
Yazd is a nice old desert city. There were two stupid men in teh town but otherwise, everything was fine, and today I made the `desert tour` and visited some places in the surroundings of Yazd. Really, you leave the city and there are just stones and sand...
Tomorrow evening, I take a bus to Esfahan which will also be a beautiful place. With the Irish traveller, I was walking on the roof of the Bazaar today - quite funny he`ll also go to Esfahan so maybe we find another roof there....
The hotel is very beautiful, with plants and water (and therefore also some insects quite disturbing at night...) and it was a good choice not to stay in the dirty place where I spent my first night in Yazd.
Bye for now, I think in Esfahan I have more time for writing.
At first, I thought I would have to spend a night in the very ugly Mosaferkuneh (which is something like a very basic hostel, not cleaned every day or not even every month...) but finally I could reach Roya by telephone and she came the same evening to the Mosaferkuneh with her nice husband and daughter and they made me escape from this place and brought to their really wonderful home with djungle view just outside the kitchen.
Yesterday we visited a waterfall. It`s not easy to get there, there is a stony street and the last meters you have to walk through the water but we managed it :-) Then in the evening we made a trip around Gorgan, like `Gorgan at night`.
Today Roya and her husband had to work in the morning so Combis brings me to a forest area. He thinks I would walk on the street. But I didn`t stay on this street. I found a very nice path, and when I climb it up, there is a very good way with lots of panorama views of the Gorgan mountains. And nobody else is walking there. Don`t know if it is forbidden. Maybe I was the only woman to use this way during the last 20 years....Back on the street down in the forest again, I walk in direction of Gorgan when suddenly Roya comes in her car. She was looking fo me. And as I was in the djungel, it was impossible to see me... I hope she didn`t spend too much time being stressed because of me. Djungle exkursions seems really not normal in this country. Back on the street, police saw me walking alone on the street but they didn`t stop to ask me why. So maybe for tourists, everything is really different and for me is even allowed to go in the inner part of djungle.
Tonight I take the train to Tehran and tomorrow evening continue to Yazd where I am supposed to arrive very late at night. I hope it is possible to sleep in the Gorgan-Teheran train. And I hope they don`t put me together with too many children as this makes slepping in the train always more difficult.
I arrived in Gorgan which seems not so nice as Sari but maybe I should wait until tomorrow before judging...
On the way to Gorgan, we also visted Bandar Turkman where I could see the Caspian sea (quite dirty...) and then visited another place in the south of Gorgan and had a nice walk in the forest (and this time, it really had a bit of a jungle...). Then Rashid and taxi driver brought me to a hostel as it was not possible to reach the CouchSurfing woman from Gorgan this afternoon. I think I should phone her this evening and when I reach her, probably go there tomorrow.
The forest around Gorgan is really nice but you have to walk far away from Iranian picknick places because they don`t care about waste (sometimes tehy make picknick just next to a street at places which seems for me liek a waste disposal...). And walking far away is not so easy as the ways are not indicated. Also, normally it is forbidden that a woman walks with a man in a forest (only if you are married you should do it, and even then, not sure if it would be a good idea), but Rashid visits the forest with me and no police there ;-) Would be also too much work to control cities AND forests. But around the biggest picknick areas, you will always see some police around, watching for bad behaviour people (that`s to say not married people, people with bad hejab,...).
We had a nice last evening in Sari, thsi time I didn`t win the card game Rashid learnt me :-( But another day I won with 70 points :-) which happens not so often in this game. So this evening, nobody here to play cards with me. It`s more one of the evenings to go to bed early.... I have TV in my hostel room, but probably no German/English SatTV as Gorgan is no place of international tourism (but lots of Iranians come here to make tourism and have a picknich in the forest).
Bye from Gorgan,
Hallo, in Sari gibt es jede Menge zu Essen: von Rashids Mutter, die glaube ich staendig kocht und anscheinend so gut wie nie in ihrem Leben das Haus verlaesst, von dem Maedel aus dem Internetcaffee, die mich heute erst mit kleinen Kuchen vollgestopft hat und glaube ich gerade den Eintopf im Nebenzimmer aufbaut, mit strahlendem kleinen Bruder nebendran. Als ich gestern das erste Mal hier war, wollte ich zum Abschied allen die Hand schuetteln. Auch dem Bruder. Aber entgegen vieler anderer Aussaggen meines Reisefuehrers, die stark uebertrieben sind, ist die Aussage, dass man Maennern nicht die Hand gibt offenbar vollkommen richtig: Als ich meine Hand Richtung kleiner Bruder schob, stand er sofort nen Meter weiter hinten....Bei Rashid ist das Verhalten allerdings nicht so ausgepraegt, ein Grossteil der Familie seiner Mutter ist schon ausgewandert und er guckt Unmengen Sat TV (da sieht man dann auch Frauen ohne Kopftuch, was ja ansonsten hier nicht moeglich ist, und es gibt ZDF...) und spricht daher auch faszinierenderweise von der Aussprache her gutes Englisch. Die IRaner, die ENglisch nur in der Schule gelrnt haben, haben doch oft eher unverstaendliche Aussprachen, da sie nie in England waren und die Lehrer ja auch keine Muttersprachler sind. Sowohl gestern als auch heute haben wir Ausfluege in die Gegend gemacht, um den sogenannten Dschungel zu sehen. War nett, aber Dschungel war es meiner Meinung nach nicht...Einfach nur Wald mit nicht ganz jungen Baeumen. Aber hier bezeichnen das eben alle als Dschungel. Ich hab dann Unmengen Froesche fotografiert und Rashid und der Fahrer fanden das glaub ich eher unsinnig. Touri-Frau reist aus Deutschland an und knipst komische Tiere. Kakerlaken sind mir hier auch zum ersten Mal im Iran begegnet, im Duschzimmer, aber Rashid hat sie dann brav fuer mich getoetet....Seitdem hab ich keine mehr gesichtet. Morgen fahre ich weiter nach Gorgan und dann nach 2 NAechten weiter nach Yazd. Da bin ich dann 2 NAechte im Zug, und falls es in Gorgan kein halbwegs taugliches Internet geben sollte, gibt es somit ggf. erst in 4 Tagen Neues. Aber keine Sorge, fuer Touris ist das alles hier wirklich aeusserst sicher, die Menschen sind ja alle so eingeschuechtert dass irgendwelche Verbrechen doch hoechst unwahrscheinlich sind. Jetzt ist hier 20 Uhr und auf den Strassen richtig viel Gewusel. Obwohl die Frauen glaub ich nicht zur schwarzen Farbe verpflichtet sind gibt es erstaunlich viele in schwarz. Aber zumindest gibt es hier ueberhaupt welche, auf der Strasse wuerd ich mal sagen sogar fast 50 Prozent, das waren woanders shon deutlich weniger. Heute war es gar nicht heiss hier, aber wegen der extrem hohen Luftfeuchtigkeit (irgendwo bei 90 Prozent...) kommt es einem trotzdem immer so vor, als waere man grad im Schwimmbad. Das Geblaese hinter mir produziert zur Abwechslung aber 18 Grad... Ciao, Anja
after a 7 hour train trip (in car it is only 3 hours) through a very beautiful landscape with high mountains (and the train really climbed them up) I reached Sari. The train trip was ok except for some stops at stations because every stop made the train incredible hot and we just felt like in a swimming bath. But it seems that the temperature in Sari is not as high as last week so I am happy because really it is hot enough.
Here the Internet Cafes are meeting points for flirting youth. Some girls are inside the Cafe and waiting, one boy is entering the cafe, then girl and boy just disappear behind one of the computers....Also now, at 9pm, the streets are quite busy and lost of people walk around in the town.
I stay with CouchSurfing member Rashid and his family. The even have German TV :-) Tomorrow we will see what they call `jungle` here. This area is the only real forest area of Iran, and two young girls in the train seemed never have seen this forest before. Someone who lives in Gemany with all these green trees can hardly believe that it is real;y possible not to know any forests.
Bye from near the Caspian Sea,
Maybe you won't believe it but another bus just broke down after two hours driving from Tabriz to Teheran. It was a terrible old bus, making big noise and smelling like a petrol station. At the Tabriz bus station I met an Iranian girl. I think it was not possible to buy a ticket for one women but a man looked for another woman, this girl, and then we could buy the two tickets together. The man had really problems with trying to get the ticket for me.
At the bus station, there were young cats. The Iranian girl just took one nice small black cat baby with her to Teheran. I spent the morning in her flat in Teheran and slept because too tired to visit the town and then I walked a bit in Teheran, visit the former US embassy and watch the terrible sentences Iranian government had painted on the walls.
Now I try to get the taxi back to the girls flat. Hoepfully someone will stop a taxi for me because getting into a taxi here is much more difficult than getting a taxi in Germany. And traffic is so terrible that you have many many near-death-experiences during one road drive.
The girl is already waiting for me, so bye for now, Anja