Blogs from Middle East - page 1213


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

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet March 14th 1972

Day 32 - Tuesday 14th March We were planning to catch the train this evening and start the long journey across Turkey - well for me it depended on AMEX. I went with Michael and Heather to the bazaar as Michael had decided to buy a leather jacket - it was excellent quality. I left by myself and headed to the university where you could climb the tower for a view over Istanbul. The campus was spacious and the buildings very modern but alas the tower was closed. An alternative view would be possible from the Galata Tower. So I walked across the Galata bridge and briefly watched the fishermen using small nets - during my stay they were being very successful despite the water being very rough. The Galata Tower could be seen easily from ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet March 13th 1972

Day 32 - Monday 13th March. Up early this morning as I need to report my missing travellers cheques to American Express. It was snowing quite heavily as I headed out at 8.30am and caught the bus to Taksim district - the bus was packed. The Hilton hotel was 5 minutes walk away and opposite the Tourist Information Office. I had to complete a long complicated form and then sign in triplicate. They would check with Head Office and tomorrow afternoon they would let me know whether new cheques would be issued. I walked back to Taksim square and then caught the bus to Sultanhamet and found the Post Restante. The next problem was to overcome the loss of the student cards - so wrote a letter to UK student office in London to ask for ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet March 12th 1972

Day 30 - Sunday 12th March After yesterday's uneventful day (sigh!), it was a chance to explore more of Istanbul. It was cold and occasionally snowing. At breakfast, I had a chat with a Scottish lad who had taken 6 weeks cycling through Europe and was heading to India - he was planning to catch the train to Erzurum tonight - very interesting person. Blue Mosque - the exterior was grey but inside it was so beautiful and coloufful due to the covering of blue tiles and it was noticeable that everywhere was decorated with symbols rather than paintings. The floor was fully carpeted and etiquette meant that you had to leave your shoes outside. An excellent/impressive building. Next I walked to the Topikapi Palace - it cost an entrance fee of 3TL and additional fee ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet March 11th 1972

Day 29 - Saturday 11th March Hurray a non-travel day. First stop as usual is Poste Restante - a letter for me but seven for Heather - I guess that I must write more letters myself ! We went into a museum and then to the Basillica Cistern which was beautifully decorated. A group of Turkish girls befriended us and asked for us to join in their photographs. There were going to a discotheque tonight but alas it would be too expensive. We walked through the park to view the Bosphorus and here started a disasterous few hours. One of the pleasures of travelling is meeting new people but one of the dilemmas is the desire to be friendly whilst maintaining a level of distrust because every now and again there are fraudsters - how to ... read more

Middle East » Yemen » Aden September 21st 1964

As the Himalaya approached Aden I remember thinking that this was by far the most desolate looking place that I'd ever laid eyes on. This view appears to have been shared by P&O's pamphlet on the port, the introduction to which is "First sighting of Aden from the sea is uninviting, when the hot sun, reflected from the yellow volcanic rock, gives the whole coast a parched and unwelcoming appearance." Mum and Dad must have decided that it looked a bit safer than Port Said, because we happily went ashore, and then walked along what I remember as a single row of small shops on the waterfront. There were camels and goats everywhere, but virtually no trees or other greenery. I don't remember there being overly many people around either, despite the pamphlet's assertion that its ... read more
From the bow of the SS Himalaya, Aden
Looking towards Aden from Aden Peninsula

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