DAY TWENTY TWO… Rest day & night train to Tehran
Last night we were given an amazing supper by our hosts in the hotel. The most divine aubergine dish, crispy rice, some chicken, and more aubergines and some traditional soup.
We spent some more time in the bazaar again. It’s so good to be there. A lot of time spent discussing the price of carpets! I eventually bought one for £29 which can be cut into two. Tim bought a carpet bag for Isaac (his son).
Surprisingly, our journey to the station to get the train to Tehran, was in a refrigerated van. We had stressed the importance of a van to Ali… so there would be space for the three bikes, but we had no idea he would select such a vehicle. Ali rode in the refrigerated part of the van, and we squashed in beside the driver. He insisted in speaking Farsi to us, despite me saying to him, in Farsi, that I did not speak Farsi!! Eventually he ended up speaking a little English, and inviting us to his house. We declined, but it was so nice of him.
Arrived at the train station and lots of stress. It was suggested the bikes would travel a few days later, on another train. No way! In the end it was agreed they could travel in the restaurant car!!
We met a young woman in the restaurant car, who explained to us that she had been arrested three times for transgressions of dress (wearing green nail varnish, exposing her arms etc.). The dress police, she said, are jealous of young girl’s beauty and want to be mean to them. Unfortunately, many young people want to leave Iran.
Our train compartment was shared with an infirm couple who we offered the lower bunks to. Somehow, travelling first class involves getting unwanted Iranian films at full volume all night. This, together with the knowledge that the infirm couple were leaving in the middle of the night, did not give me much confidence about sleep. I took a Zopiclone sleeping tablet! The laundry collecting man ripped off my blankets and sheets in the middle of the night in a rush to get the washing done. All in all, not too restful.