Blogs from Middle East - page 1203

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Middle East » Iran » East » Mashhad March 24th 1972

Day 42 - Friday 2th March My sleeping bag was soaked with condensation from the sportsman blanket, which I had used as added protection to keep out the cold - sadly no much chance of that but at least it had added a few degrees. My stomach had started to be affected by the deteriorating quality of the diet - with a bit of luck two tablets would be enough to help me survive the day (lets face it, there would be distinct lack of comfort breaks on the bus journey). I had been taking vitamin tablets to add some vitamin C to my diet but alas where was the bottle ! My cold was still pretty bad and a significant number of the passengers on the bus seem to be suffering with the same problem ... read more

Middle East » Iran » East » Mashhad March 23rd 1972

Day 41 - Thursday 23rd March The train arrived in Mashhad in the late morning. The scenery en-route had not been very inspiring - in fact it was bleak. The countryside was mainly desert-like with patches of grass resembling tumbleweed. The villages were mud huts surrounded by mud walls. Some buildings had domed roofs. A significant number of villagers seemed to be digging ditches but it was unclear whether the activity was to renovate irrigation ditches for Spring or more likely to help with the dispersal of pools of flood water. According to our new travelling friend from the University of Shiraz, 1972 had been the worst winter for many years. On our arrival in Mashhad we could see the Golden Temple - the Imam Raza Shrine - but unfortunately once again, we felt the need ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran » Tehran March 22nd 1972

Day 40 - Wednesday 22nd March Heather is feeling better and so John and myself will try and buy tickets for the 7pm train to Mashad. The train station was situated at the southern side of Teheran. The journey to the train station was courtesy of a very old double-decker bus but only cost 2 rials. It was disturbing at one point as the majority of passengers came across to our side of the bus. Sadly someone had been knocked over and lay motionless in the road - nasty. We met two Americans who had just bought their tickets - good news to follow as they had the ticket requirements written in Persian. There was approximately 48 people in front of us in the queue, which was a relief because the bus stations were thronging with ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran » Tehran March 21st 1972

Day 39 - Tuesday 21st March Yet another cold snowy wintry day. Heather is still feeling very unwell and so we will not be leaving Teheran today. As it is New Year, all of the tourist sites are closed and so nothing to do. The day's highlight was a long hot shower (extra fee !) but after it finished it was back to the cold bedroom. I finished my book and wrote some letters to friends in UK. At lunchtime we went to our regular cafe for an enjoyable soup but there seemed to be a slight atmosphere from the staff. Maybe they thought that we spent to little cash but sat at their tables for too long - both true. Once again, no coaches had managed to get through to Mashad due to the heavy ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran March 20th 1972

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 ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran March 19th 1972

Day 37 - Sunday 19th March John was feeling very poorly and wanted to find a doctor - according to the hotel desk, a doctor's appointment would cost 200 rials (£1). It was snowing quite heavily but I decided to walk to the Post Office to collect my mail. John had returned from the doctors with his 180 rials worth of medicine including syrup and penicillin. In the afternoon, Michael, Heather and myself headed towards the bazaar. We passed the Golestan Palace which was sadly closed for New Year but you could still admire its decorative beauty by peering through the railings. By this time, the heavy snow had turned to rain and many of the roads were flooded - the bedlam added to by the mad city drivers - my feet were frozen. The bazaar ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz March 18th 1972

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 ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Eastern Anatolia » Erzurum March 17th 1972

Day 35 - Friday 17th March The coach left at a few minutes before 6am. We were given seats at the back. The coach managed a pretty impressive speed and the driver was excellent. The scenery to the border was still snow covered mountains and small poor looking villages of mainly mud huts. The road was virtually empty of traffic. At the border everything was unloaded from the coach and our passports and health certificates were scrutinised by the Turkish side. The Iranian border guards declared that Michael's visa was invalid which was annoying as all three (Michael, Heather and mine) had been issued at the very same time by the Embassy in London. After a lively discussion, they eventually stamped the visa and let him through. The customs area checked our luggage and added "camera" ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Ankara » Kizilcahamam March 16th 1972

Day 34 - Thursday 16th March Still on the train from Istanbul but due to arrive in Erzurum mid afternoon. The events of the day were very much the same as yesterday - staring faces and salesmen. Our visitors included a young Turkish man and we walked with him to the restaurant car, which was at the far end of the train. Another man offered us some hash (this would be the most regular interruption to our days until we reached Malaysia!). We played cards and read to pass the time. The scenery changed as the train passed through the countryside against a backdrop of snowy mountain peaks - there was a lot of snow. The villages looked much poorer and it was noticeable how many were mud huts rather than brick. There was also a ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Ankara » Kizilcahamam March 15th 1972

Day 33 - Wednesday 15th March The long train journey from Istanbul continued. From first light onwards, the scenery had no character whatsoever - it was just unchanging desolation - rocks, little vegetation and occasional villages and lots of snow. However the sun was shining through the train window bringing some welcome warmth. The train was full of salesmen - soft drinks, tea, water, grapes, bread, perfume, rings, belts, clothes, scarves and oranges - not sure what quality the food would be. There were also several beggars asking for money. Outside the window adjacent to the corridor, crowds gathered. For nearly all of the journey there were people just staring at our every move - completely fascinated - it was disturbing. Eventually we hung a ground sheet against the window to block their view. It worked ... read more




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