Overland 1972 - Day 36

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March 18th 1972
Published: March 22nd 2013
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Day 36 - Saturday 18th March

I awoke at 6am and went outside to check for activity - there was none and so assumed that journey might start at 7am. The coach eventually left fairly late but even so it was without four passengers who did not turn up. The road was fairly straight for most of the way. Initially we drove through snow and later through drizzle. The plain was completely surrounded by mountains and the land looked uncultivated. The villages looked slightly more westernised but still the majority of homes were mud huts. As we moved east, the number of coaches and lorries on the road increased. For long stretches of the road, the tarmac was one vehicle wide. The vehicles drove on this central section before moving across to the side as another vehicle approached - is exciting the right word or maybe it should be unnerving. It did seem slightly dangerous with one wheel on tarmac and the other on compressed earth. In addition, everywhere was wet and there was the odd livestock to avoid (not always though as the coach killd one dog). The coach driver stopped twice during the journey for refreshments and twice more for police checkpoints. The first refreshment stop was serving honey bread and tea but I decided not to buy any oranges as they seemed a bit pricey. The second stop was for lunch.

The coach arrived in Teheran at 5pm passing the first notable monument - a huge arch which was probably the imposing Azadi Sq tower built in 1971. We left the coach station and headed towards a recommended hotel. Luckily we met a Persian lad and he guided us safely to our destination and also promised to show us around Teheran. The hotel seemed fairly popular and clean. It was two beds to a room and reasonable for 60 rials even though the mattresses were hard and the air cold. John and I went for a walk and found the Post Office (closed though) and then a restaurant - alas poor quality soup. This disappointment was offset by finding an excellent cake shop and also buying some delicious halva. Even in this brief walk we were aware of the aggressive city driving !

Our part of Teheran seemed to have a significant number of military establishments and some soldiers were carrying rifles with fixed bayonets. The majority of shops had photographs of the Shah or his wife Empress Farah and also religious figures. Interesting to hear that UK Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Hume was visiting Teheran tonight.


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