We can do it too!
Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
143Trip End Nov 15, 2007
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Where I stayed
We can do it too.
After a good night's sleep we got up early to have another taxi ride into town. Lou was lucky enough to sit in the front seat this time, but he busied himself with taking photos as he went along, so took the speed and near misses in his stride. All the windows were down and the little motor in the taxi was revving its heart out. We felt like we were flying and said absolutely nothing to the driver, regardless of whether he could speak English or not. We nervously pointed out a few landmarks to each other but soon fell silent again. Each time the driver wanted to know some directions, he'd wave his arm at the driver next to us and call out what he was looking for.
We began the process of the Visa application at the Indian Embassy then went to our Australia Embassy to get a letter of introduction, necessary for entry into India. The staff at the Australia Embassy were so helpful and seemed delighted that we'd called in. Neda Fakhreddini, the consular officer was sorry that the ambassador was not there, as we would have had a photo shoot together. She arranged the letters of introduction for the Indian Embassy and also did some for the Chinese Embassy. Neda was interested in our overland trip and gave us every assistance to make it easier for us to move on. She also rang around to enquire if there were any other Embassies which we could access while we were here in Iran.
Parvis Habibi, also at the Australian Embassy, asked if we needed to cash any more money, and sent for a money changer, who came on his motor bike to change $350AUD for me. Australian dollars were not recognized at the border. He said he liked the Australian money as it does not break and the denominations are large enough not to be cumbersome. Parvis also gave us very specific instructions where we could park with our campers North of Tehran, where it is cooler at night. After a big glass of tea and a freshen up, we went on our way, happier for the visit to our Australian Embassy which is so capably staffed by the friendly Iranian people.
All's well that ends well and it did on this occasion too.
We had a quick shower at Saman Hotel, packed up our belongings, and checked out. Check out time was 2pm (that was really convenient for us) and we went out bravely to experience Tehran traffic in our own vehicles.
Des and Lou did a great job negotiating the Tehranian traffic, which we were all a bit nervous to enter into. We were looking for a spot recommended by Parvis who works at the Australian Embassy, and stopped several times to check if we were heading in the right direction. A chap we asked in an ice cream shop, had the most amazing blue eyes, everyone else's eyes here are a shiny dark brown, I couldn't resist telling him how lovely they were. Parvis had written the directions to Park Jamshideyah out in Farsi so it would be easy to show anyone we asked for directions. But the blue eyed ice cream man had no idea.
At one stage I asked a police office on guard duty at the front of the Police Barracks if he could help me with directions
It turned out we were actually on the wrong side of the park and it was very hilly and away from people so we chose to come back down the hill and settle in a place called Niavaran which had a beautiful art gallery and design college and was surrounded by lovely gardens. It also had a comfortable, modern internet café which we were happy to use.
We put up our campers in a spot indicated by a taxi driver which turned out to be an overnight spot for a group of private taxis. The drivers slept on the ground or in their cabs every night. When we went out for an evening, they looked after our vehicles and made sure no one lingered around them too long. The 7 or 8 drivers were very curious about us Aussies but initially couldn't bring themselves to come up and speak. Every time Lynn and I were away from camp for awhile, they moved in on Des and Lou, having a good look at everything and asking many questions. Two guys were fascinated by our deck chairs and collapsible table. Des produced the photos from Australia and our family and had a captive audience for a long time. I happened to overhear him explaining "Yes, this is my 'housewife' and her 2 cats"! When one fellow held the photo of our grand daughter Ava, he brought the picture to his lips and kissed it. I felt very moved about this.