Our First Trip to Tehran

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
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Trip End Nov 15, 2007


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Where I stayed
Samar Hotel

Flag of Iran  ,
Sunday, August 27, 2006

27.8.06

Our first trip to Tehran



Lynn was up at 6:30 already and asked me if I heard the young fellow attacking the phone box with a stone during the night. That must have been during the hour I was asleep I suppose. There was a public phone box 2 meters from the end of our camper which several people had tried unsuccessfully to use during the evening, so Des put some black tape over the slot before he went to bed.



It was agreed that we should look for a hotel in Karaj and take a train into Tehran to get the visas. We stopped to ask where a hotel was so many times it would have been quicker to walk there. We drove in ever decreasing circles, the wrong way down one way alleys, performing U-turns on busy 3 lane roads and just generally fitting in with the traffic in Iran (which is very tolerant), till we found the Samar Hotel. A very pretty young receptionist checked us in at $45US per night. Our cars were to be parked out the front and would be perfectly safe. We collapsed in the air conditioned, quiet rooms and were greeted by a beautiful, cool, white porcelain, western toilet!



As it was still early in the day we made enquiries at the desk where we might catch a train to Tehran. It would take 3 transfers to different trains to get to Tehran so we were advised to take a taxi, we thought if we split the cost 2 ways, it could not work out too dear. We were going to walk out into the street where there were at least 10 taxis lined up, but the pretty young receptionist said we must take the one she orders for us.



The young taxi driver spoke no English but understood thankyou and bowed a greeting. The pretty receptionist arranged for the Embassies of Iran and China to be written out in English (for us) and Farsi for the taxi driver. It was a tiny 4cylinder car which we all squeezed into armed with 2 large bottles of water as the day was heating up considerably. After a 10 minute stop at the bank for the driver, and a fuel stop of a couple of dollars, we were on our way.



Driving through the city of Karaj traffic was a bit scary as the drivers push their luck to the limit and only miss each other by millimeters. Driving on the freeway was another matter altogether. Our driver 'Michael Schumacher', held his position on the road with confidence and speed and I closed my eyes more than once, not for a nap. I glanced at the speedo which indicated 130+ kilometers, I hoped I was looking at it from an angle and it wasn't a true reading. 'Lucky Des' was in the front with Michael and I think it was fortunate he didn't speak any English as Des was pretty much speechless. At a blessed stop light he commented to us in the back that he had put his foot through the fire wall on the front passenger side, but found no brake there. It was truly a harrowing ride.



The Indian Embassy was closed but the Chinese Embassy was open and we were given the application forms for visas there. So the trip was not a total waste. We couldn't wait to get back to the hotel and have a shower and veg out.



As Michael had been driving us around for 4 hours and waited for us everywhere, we were afraid to ask 'How much?' It was 100,000 rials which equates to $15AUD give or take a few cents.



We re-booked the taxi for the next morning at 8am for another round of the Embassy shuffle
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