Published: October 19th 2008October 12th 2008
The bus pulls into Bandar Abbas about 6am. The first thing I notice is the heat - its around 30 degrees and the humidity is about ten million percent. Danial and Iman meet me at the station, and as soon as I see them I know Bandar is going to be loads of fun. While the town itself is unspectacular the islands, and the company prove to be first-class.
Our first mission is to Hormoz Island - myself Danial, Kamil and Anna take a speedboat across. The heat is almost unbearable, and there is very little shade on the island. We walk through a village which is inhabited by Bandari's and on to the Portuguese castle. The castle is in ruin and has been badly damaged by earthquakes, but some parts, including the underground church are still fully intact. As we leave the castle we are accosted by scores of Bandari kids who are all keen to have their photo taken. As we are waiting for the only taxi on the island to collect us, a film crew approach us and ask if we would like to be on the news. I jump at the opportunity to be on Iranian news, and proceed to be questioned on my views of Iran and Hormoz Island. I tell them what I think, and hope that nothing is lost in translation with the subtitles... Our taxi arrives and we get a tour of the island, which is one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen - Hormoz is also known as the 'Island of Colours' as the mountains are made up of soil which is no less than twelve different colours. The fact that this phenomenon does not occur on any other Persian Gulf island makes it all the more interesting. Later that night we head out for Ice Pack, which is somewhere between an icecream and a thick shake. Best drink ever.
The following day we are awoken at 6:30am to the sounds of Slayer playing Reign In Blood live - this is our alarm clock, and it works, although Kamil is less than impressed. We drive out to Qeshm Island, and although it takes some time to get the car on to the ferry, we arrive in Laft village before lunch. We take a speedboat through the mangroves around the island, which is very reminiscent of the mangroves around the gold coast. We mission on to see some old caves and a giant oil rig which is perched just off the shore. We then go through Qeshm town and to the port, where we pay some smugglers to take us to Larak Island. They absolutely fly through the water and launch the boat onto the sand at full speed when we arrive - proper smuggler style. Larak Island is beautiful, it seems untouched and the water is warm and crystal clear. We hammer back to Qeshm at warp speed so as not to miss the last ferry back to the mainland. As we drive back to the ferry I am mesmerized by the sunset and watch it for nearly an hour as it slowly disappears. Sunsets on the Persian Gulf are the most spectacular I've ever seen. We retire for Ice Pack, qalyan, and perhaps even a sneaky beer...
Saturday we chill out for most of the morning, since its so freaking hot. We head to the bazaar, and onto the fish market. I struggle to comprehend why anybody would purchase fish from an outdoor fish market in 40 degree weather. The place is absolutely stinking. We get out of there and head home, where Danial's mother has cooked an awesome fesen jun. Later we head out to Iman's studio and belt out a few metal tunes. His setup is small but impressive and he is a great guitarist. We head on the foreshore and chill out, watching with amusement as some guys are drinking and nearly shit their pants when the police arrive. Very funny stuff, though the fact that the penalty is 100 lashes is perhaps not so amusing.
Sunday evening myself and Danial check out a hot spring on the outskirts of town. We watch the sun set, and as we are driving back we are pulled over by the police. We follow them for a bit, then they stop and one cop opens the boot of the cop car and loads it up with cooked rice and two big pots of food, while the other cop jumps in the back of our car. Danial is arguing profusely with them, and I have no idea of whats going on, but apparently the car is being impounded for having a broken tail light. Pricks. Cops will always be cops. The irony is not lost on us as we drive past a family of five all piled onto a 125cc motorbike with no lights. We drop the car, get a lift back into town, and get some beers. Its been a great few days in Bandar.