Saturday, September 19, 2009
Cycling to Asia, week 9
Taking bus to Esfahan was a good choice. Not just because my illness involved into a pretty severe one. We do not travel to see sights, neither to chat with other travelers, but after two months one appreciate a bit of European atmosphere. Esfahan turned out to be the number one place in whole Iran for meeting other overlanders, out of whom quite a few use the same travel means as we do...
The overnight bus was alright except that the Amir Kabir hotel was still closed at 5am. Since I didn't know what to do I just roamed around, trying to find a park where I could stretch my bones for a bit. Fortunately nothing looked suitable, so I went back the same street and yes they've just opened... I got my bed and started the healing process... originally I thought I will just lie in the bed, but next day I've found out that there are other three bicycles in the courtyard... this is way to tantalizing to resist... so I hanged around for a bit. First I came across the magic bus people. The name was coined by me, but how would you call 30 people traveling from London to Sydney on a big orange bus with a balcony? It looked more like a house on wheels than a coach and the people resembled the good old hippie days when this road was traveled by the pioneers of backpacking...
Then I met David the Swiss! He is taking his time, that I have to say right a way. He is cycling from Basel to India, roughly as we do but he is on the road since April, so exactly double as long as we are. Well if somebody have the resources and Swiss passport that allows you to get 90 days visa in Turkey or Iran, then why shouldn't he take the opportunity to explore these vibrant countries, right? He is pretty straight forward guy asking good questions... no polite rubbish or shallow talk.
Afterward Arian showed up. This nice fella is cycling his way from Holland to India and also doesn't bother him self much with things like getting stuck in Esfahan for almost two weeks. Yes, I would like to see the man who would leave earlier if he had met a nice local girl who speaks good English and is eager to show you around. It's not difficult to fall in love with these dark-deep-eyed beauties carelessly covered with scarfs that just provokes your imagination.Some women -the traditional one- are covered from head to toes... the head scarf is properly tided and shows just the round face with eagle nose and Persian eyes. These are not so sexy, that's true, but than there are these youthful girls rebelling in the Iranian way. Usually wearing more colorful jackets and trousers, not pure black and definitely not the all covering tent-like chador. The most revolutionary and typical sign is the headscarf. In their case it's more of a delicate decoration, more like a romantic veil then a covering cloth. Lot of care is given to make sure that enough hair will be visible... no matter that the scarf falls off sometimes... Together with the unique ayes and exotic Persian faces they are just gorges. Covered enough to follow the rules, but not much to protect you from craving and thinking what's beyond? So Arian we all envy you!
Lastly there is one more bike in the courtyard, but we couldn't find the owner. No wonder when he is in Teheran. Kevin had to extend his visas so ended up traveling more by bus then by bike... He is probably the most experienced from us since he already did a south to north America journey. It took him a year and it was just two years ago so it looks like he felt in love with it. This time he is doing the Ireland South-east Asia tour with no definite destination end neither definite route. He mentioned India, China, Burma, Indonesia... all by land, so some miles will be covered while he comes back to Ireland.
Good luck to all of you guys. It's been really nice to relax, chill-out and talk with you. I feel refreshed. Like after coming home for a weekend and then starting the journey again. Just that the half is behind me already... Healthy physically and stronger mentally. There were times when I felt awkward, since all the locals acts as you have just fallen down from the moon and that they have never seen anybody doing something strange like you do... but there are plenty people who did it before us quite a few that are doing it while we are, so maybe we meet again... we all go the same direction... I'm looking forward!!!
Posted by janči just a traveler