Traditional Houe, Kashan

Can You Always Trust the Police?

| Iran

I wasn’t quick enough trying to crank my head around to get a second glance at the sign post, nope I definitely missed it. Did it really tell me to turn right? I better turn around and check it out again. Just as I was about to drive off, a banged up pickup truck pulled up next to me, with the words police written on the side. What did they want? I thought to myself as I remembered back to my first few days in Iran. Keeping up a friendly attitude I called out through my helmet, ‘Kashan?’ pointing down the road I thought the sign said. The guy in the passage seat signals for me to turn around and follow him. Raising my eyebrows, I thought that there is no way I’m going anywhere with you, I just do not trust the Iranian Police.

I turned my bike around, this made the police happy and convinced that I was obeying their orders. However I stopped at the sign and read- Kashan turn right. I drove around the corner and prepared myself for the next instalment. Sure enough I didn’t have to wait long. I cringed as I heard the engine of the poor pickup truck been driven at revs designed for the next gear. The passenger, which I guessed was more senior of the two, hung out the window frantically waving at me to stop. They then pull in front of me and came to a stop.

I made conscious decision to stop with a lot of space between me and the truck. I then waited until they both got out of the truck and started walking towards me, just as they were about to reach me I called out ‘Do you speak English?’
‘No’ replied the police
‘Then leave me alone’ I said, driving off and leaving them standing confused a good ten metres from their truck. The first few corners were scary, just waiting for them to catch up with me. Then I had another brain wave. I parked around a corner not completely out of sight but a place you wouldn’t see me very easily if you’re driving in a hurry. I then took out my camera and took some photos of the surrounding mountains. It didn’t take me long to work out they were not coming to hunt me down so I could now carry on without worrying towards Kashan, the village filled with beautiful old Persian bath houses and homes open to the public. Being interested in architecture, I couldn’t help stopping here for the night to check them out.

I’m bit confused, I’m not sure where to go and what to see during my last two weeks in Iran. I roughly worked out a brief plan of attack, first Kashan, jump around Tehran and head to Qazvin to visit a motorcycle shop then to Tazeh Kand-e-Nosrat to see a castle then head back south to see a friend of a friend in Sanandaj before crossing into Iraq. Too many options with no real interest, that’s when I thought about my Syrian visa.

I knew I didn’t need a visa before arriving at the Syria border. Since I was a New Zealander and we do not have an embassy in my country, I could officially obtain a visa at the border. However, since March this year Syria has been on the brink of civil war and I wanted to make my border crossing as easy as possible, hence I wanted to obtain a visa before arriving. It is known on forums across the internet that the Embassy in Istanbul does not issue visa’s to non residents, however the embassy in Tehran might. It looks as if I’ve just squashed all my plans and I’m now heading to Tehran.

There is more photos on my flickr blog – click here