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Published: March 23rd 2013
Day 38 - Monday 20th March
Could not be bothered to get up early as it was still snowing. However no point in just lounging around in the cold room. I walked to the Ethnological Museum but alas there was no sign of an entrance (it would appear that the museum is actually with the Golestan Palace complex). I walked around the Golestan Palace (and so in retrospect I was in the right vicinity) but refrained from taking photographs due to the intimidating presence of the army. During my walk back to the hotel, I had a lucky escape as a taxi brushed the back of my legs as I crossed the square - naturally the driver just waved his fist at me. Heather was feeling better but intended to stay in bed all day. John was much improved and I shared some of his cough syrup to try and ease my symptoms.
Things to do today.
1: Check the bus timetables - I tried several bus operator offices and most had doubled their fares to 400 rial due to the Nowruz (New Year) festival. 2: Post Office - some forms had arrived from the UK Student Office. I replied immediately and returned using express service so that hopefully our replacement cards could be sent to Kabul (here's hoping). 3: Exchange some more travellers cheques. Would you believe it, the banks closed at lunchtime due to the festival ! As the hotel would not exchange travellers cheques, the choices were the black market or the airport - for safety and as I had time on my hands (all the tourist sites were already closed), I decided to try the airport. The journey was 45 minutes, two buses and a cost of 4 rial but a chance to see a few more areas of the city - also I noticed that the film "Diamonds are Forever" was being shown at the cinema. Unlike at some airports, the exchange rate was reasonable. I needed a loo break and when I entered the spotlessly clean toilet block, the attendant guided to the european cubicles and a sit down facility. It was such a treat not having to use the usual squat toilets of cheap accommodation, that I refrained from knicking some of the expensive toilet roll (how noble). Before I left the airport, I chatted to an english lad who had spent an enjoyable 6 months in India - he had a begging letter in Persian and was trying to get funds for his journey back to UK.
News was filtering through that yesterday's buses had turned back from their journey to Mashad due to heavy snow - worrying ! The difficulty with the buses will no doubt add to the presssure for seats on the trains already high due to the masses of Persians travelling for the festival. Maybe we will try and leave tomorrow but it depends on how people feel healthwise. Bought a Teheran Journal and had a cheap but filling evening meal of rice and goulash for 47 rial. However spending is at 200 rial a day which is too high. And yes, it was yet another cold and damp day only brightened by the numerous decorative lights on buildings ready for the festival.
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