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Tabriz - our last stop in Iran

Written on: Tuesday May 6th, 2008

A journal entry from: Trails in 2008

We loved the Iran?an n?ght tra?n to Tabr?z.  We were org?nally ?n a cab?n w?th 2 guys, but we had been told to alert the conductor ?f th?s happened.  They take th?s very ser?ously - and moved a guy ?n a wheelcha?r from h?s comfy posy to ma?nta?n my honour ?n not shar?ng w?th strange men!  We shared w?th an trad?t?onal wr?nkly couple w?th no engl?sh but lots of sm?les.  She was wear?ng her b?g black sheet so I was cur?ous to see what would happen at bedt?me.  Me and Al were on the top bunks, and I had a sneaky peek down at her a few t?mes ?n the n?ght to see she was st?ll f?rmly encased ?n her h?jab w?th not a strand of ha?r show?ng.  Who knows what she was th?nk?ng of the brazen hussy westerner on the bunk above her husband sleep?ng unve?led and ?n a t-sh?rt!!
The tra?n stopped at 10pm for 20 m?nutes to allow everyone to get off for n?ght prayers, and then aga?n at 4.30am for morn?ng prayers.  I slept on, happy to be a cathol?c!!
Its a lot cooler ?n Tabr?z, maybe even a l?ttle ch?lly! The scenery up th?s end of Iran ?s green and h?lly and a l?ttle rem?n?scent of the south ?sland.  Downtown, I had a fully chador'd woman w?th bas?c engl?sh str?de up to me, determ?ned that ? take her phone number and mot?on?ng for me to phone her later and even gave me 3 k?sses on the cheek goodbye.  In these s?tuat?ons you just obl?ge and hope you don't bump ?nto them the next day!  As soon as you stop, ?ts a magnet for more people so Al soon had a mechan?cs student pull?ng h?m as?de.  Paul had taken a lot of this heat off Al, but now we're solo again Al ?s back at the forefront of ?nternat?onal relat?ons.
We d?d a day tr?p to a mounta?ns?de v?llage w?th a castle bu?lt ?nto the top of the rock. 
At the bus stat?on, a young guy not?ced us at the counter and heard we wanted to go to h?s hometown.  He helped us get the t?cket, then ?ns?sted on pay?ng for ?t.  There was no way he was go?ng to accept money from us (but he d?d accept one of our  macaroons we now carry on us at all t?mes).  In town, we were approached in the restaurant by a guy ?n h?s 50's.  Lucky us - he turned out to be the r?chest guy ?n town.  We were disappointed that the mounta?nous castle we had travelled 2 hours to see was shrouded ?n cloud.  Th?s guy ?ns?sted on buy?ng us lunch, then home to his apartment (penthouse, of course) for a nescafe.  Determind we would see the castle, he organ?sed a tax?, armed us w?th jackets and the 3 of us drove to a point where you could h?ke up above the clouds.  At the end of it all he completely ?ns?sted on pay?ng for the tax?!!  At th?s stage ?t was 4pm and we hadn't been able to spend a rial all day!!   He kept ?nv?t?ng us to stay at h?s place and return to Tabr?z ?n the morn?ng, but we decl?ned - partly because we had to leave for Turkey the next day and partly because us susp?c?ous westerners just can't bel?eve people are genuinely this nice.
Our day was the perfect conclus?on to our tr?p ?n Iran - pretty much a round up of the hosp?tal?ty we have exper?enced through the whole country.  If you had to guess what country th?s happened to you ?n - I bet Iran would be the lowest on your l?st!