Iran 3rd to 15th December 1998

Merry Christmas

41-dogu After a very cold day driving out of Turkey I made it into Iran. I didn't have a "Carnet de Passage", but it gave almost no trouble as they just entered the facts into my passport the same way as all the countries south of the Rio Grande did in the Americas, so I was very pleased.

The prices in Iran is very pleasing too, for one dollar you will get 35 liters of gasoline. That, the perfect roads, and the large distances mostly through desert or dry-land, has changed my driving speed from 80-90 km/h to 110-130 km/h and the fuel economy of the Beemer has changed from bad to worse, with little impact on my economy.

41-iran In Denmark one of my colleges is from Iran, so I went to visit his family in Isfahan, to experience muslim hospitality at close range, and it is very special. You feel like you are the center of the universe, it is almost too much. Bijan the brother of my college at home helped me extend my visa, showed me the sights, but the thing which made the biggest impression on me was when we visited an old man who was a master of the Iranian flute. 47-flute He played for us and recited and played a poem, I think it was by Hafes, about a flower and a nighting- gale, although I didn't understand a word, I think I understood the poem - As he said: try to remember your emotions while I perform the poet, and later when I told him, and he told me how the story was - the differences was not big, a very nice evening indeed. I got a record where he plays the flute and when I get home I will put a sample here. Of course I know that this will not be the same as the experience of that night - even if I had had a video-recorder it wouldn't have been able to capture it all, you have to be there, and sometimes you are lucky to be at the right spot.

49-pers After Isfahan I went to Shiraz visiting Persepolis on the way. Persepolis being 2500 years old and once the capital and major major city of this part of the world - Shiraz mostly famous for raising some very famous poets and being a home for science a millennium or more ago.

53-bam From Shiraz I drove down to the Persian gulf and followed it south-east for a 1000 km. before I went inland to Bam where you can see a very nice 1000 years old citadel and well worth a visit. Here Ali, had on his own initiative, started a hotel called the "Tourist Guesthouse" some years ago (probably not a good name to choose). Although there were no other hotels within a few hundred miles the authoratives closed down the hotel since it was illegal. So Ali had to go to study in another town and learn how to run a hotel. After he finished studying he was could to open a new hotel (same address) and he calls it: "Ali Amiri Legal Guesthouse". This is the nicest pension I have stayed at since "Koese Pansyon" in Turkie., and I am happy to tell you that Ali hasn't adopted all the skills which is normally found at the hotels here in Iran - he does not charge foreigners double price compared to Iranians.

All in all Iran has been very different to what I had expected - standards are good, prices low, and the girls are not hidden away, but are moving freely around everywhere, their eyes reviling the warmest smile. In Denmark we say the the shortest distance between two people is a smile, bearing that in mind I have to admit that I have been closer to the girls here as I have been in many countries in the western world.

Pakistan was next - Yes I am here, but there is no way I can get my bike into the country without a Carnet. So I am sitting here wondering what to do next, being exactly halfway through my journey - time wise.

Peter Lorenzen Petersen
DK 9000 Aalborg
DANMARK
Phone (+45) 98 16 76 97
-- peter@lorenzen.us
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