Thursday 16 September 2010

Day 41 to Day 43 - Iran

Day 41 to 43 - Saturday 21st August to Monday 23rd August 2010 – Iran

It was great to wake up in a proper home, no roof tent to put down, and no-one milling around outside, checking out Barnaby in the early hours of the morning.

Many Iranians wake up and head to their local bakery for fresh bread each morning, and it tastes delicious.  We enjoyed ours with Cream, Jam one day, and with Eggs on other morning & Chai (Black Tea).

After breakfast the boys went to do "secret mens business".    Armond took Richard to his uncles shop where there was a repair garage located next door.  The hose pipe was quickly replaced after a similar hose was found and altered to fit perfectly.  Unfortunately when Barnaby was being filled with coolant, he took the opportunity to point out that another hose had also split, and this too would need to be replaced!

secret mens business discussions

2 Hose pipes replaced and Barnaby was ready to go.  Or not.  Another leak appeared.  The mechanic climbed over and under Barnaby unable to locate the leak.  Coolant wasnt coming from any of the hoses, it was coming from the Radiator itself! - a Radiator that we had only purchased last month in the UK.

The mechanics recommended a Radiator specialist nearby, and Barnaby headed there.  The radiator was removed on the street, and checked... - yes the Radiator had a leak in the watery, holdery, comparmenty thingy, hey I'm no mechanic.  All I know is that I think it was welded back together, Armond was doing all the liasing with the mechanics, and finally the leaks had ceased!

Barnaby's filters and oil were changed the following morning.  Job Done!  Barnaby is now serviced and ready for more action.

Earlier I had told the story of buying the fuel cards to Armond.  I'm not sure that Armond had actually seen a Diesel card as all cars in Iran are petrol.  One evening Armond wanted to make sure that we had adequate Diesel cards to get to the Pakistan border and we set off in his car to the Petrol Station.

Unfortunately it can be hard to track down a Petrol Station within a city centre that sells Diesel.  One Petrol Station attendant explained to Armond that the Trucks often fill up on the edges of cities and therefore there is little or no demand for Diesel.

 Rooftop view at night of Tehran from Armond and Lernik's home

The following day Barnaby out to find an elusive Diesel pump, and eventually our persistence paid off.  Armond checked all 8 Diesel cards and our fears were confirmed, they were all 100 litre Cards.  The Petrol Attendant near the border had sworn to Allah that this was a genuine 1,000 Litre Card but it turned out to be a 100 litres.  I hope Allah has a word with him about this.  At least all 8 cards were valid and had not expired.

Armond also managed to fill Barnaby with Diesel without using any of the Diesel Cards.  The price was still the same, about $3, but a $5 tip was given to the attendant to say thanks!  I'm not sure how much success I would have had on my own without a Diesel Card.

Whilst Armond & I had been busy doing important man stuff, the ladies had had a leisurely morning.  Zowi & Lernik strolled around Narmak, looking at the various shops and visiting the local park.

Lernik told Zowi that many women in Iran often fill their afternoons visiting friends and family.

The girls being social butterflies later met Lerniks Mother and Brother, and also Edwards Mother for afternoon tea.  Even though Zowi is not too familiar the delights that Coffee offers, she was tempted into enjoying a Turkish Coffee, and also was introduced to the a fruit known to us as "The Flat Peach"

 On the second evening Armond & Lernik took us to the Armenian Club in the North of Tehran.  Armond took this opportunity to demonstrate his unique skills behind the wheel.  Tehran traffic is not the easy to contend with, however "Mr Armond Schumacher" did this with great speed and agility, as he weaved his way through the evening traffic.  Armond or Schumacher? - I'm not sure which would be quickest around the roads of Tehran.

The Armenina Club was fantastic and sported many facilities.  It had a large leafy courtyard with restaurant, huge outdoor swimming pool, another pool for good measure, basket ball court, running track, football pitch, snooker hall and so much more. 

We were there in the evening to indulge in fantastic food, along with great company.  After arriving we were soon joined by Lerniks older brother, Sevan, and his wife Angeline who both seemed really nice.

There was a jug of water on the table and Zowi was the only one to have taken a glass.  Sevan suddenly pulled out a couple of bottles of water from his bag, and Zowi wondered why no-one had told her not to drink the water from the jug.

Armond explained that the water in the jug was fine to drink, Sevan had brought some "special water" for us to drink.  Alcohol is not allowed in Iran and of course we didnt have any Alcohol, but the special water went down very well.

The evening was just what we needed after many weeks on the road.  Even though there were a few language barriers, the 6 of us were laughing so much all night.  Humour is a Universal language!

the boys had no idea

The next stop of the evening was to be the Water & Fire Park, in the middle of Tehran.  Armonds choice of parking space appeared snug.  After some international mocking that we would never fit into such a small space, Schumacher accepted the challenge.  In one swift manoeuvre, the car was parked.  Perfect. Perfect, except for the fact that Schumacher was unable to open his door to leave the car and had to clamber over to the passenger seat to exit the car, much to all our amusement.

The Water & Fire Park wasnt what we expected.  It was about 11pm at night and it was packed with people.  People who were playing Badminton, Roller Blading, Walking, Talking, Picnicking, and enjoying the cooler end to the day outside.  The main attraction of the park for young and old alikeare the water fountains that sporadically shoot water out from the ground, catching out people who attempt to make it from one side to another without getting soaked.  The water fountains are surrounding by towers that erupt flames, and light the night sky brightly.

A wonderful night was had by all. 

Armond and Lernik had made us feel so welcome in their home.  Lernik has insisted that there was to be no Tarouf here, we should treat their home as our own.  This enabled us to relax and unwind so much that we considered moving in permanently!

On the final evening a wonderful BBQ with all of Lerniks family was planned.  The food was yet again out of this world, more special water appeared which was most appreciated.  It was really great to feel welcome and be apart of this family evening.  Our travels had meant that we often only dined together, to enjoy this family meal was something special to us.




Sadly, our final morning with Armond & Lernik was upon us.  Armond drew us a map that would guarantee we wouldnt get lost when trying to navigate our way out of Tehran. 

Our bags packed, it was time to leave, we joked that we could have stayed for a year with them, Lernik replied "Okay".  Tempting.  Very Tempting.

The most wonderful host family.
Lernik, Armond & Selia

 Armond came with us to the main road before jumping out of the car.  It was time for us to go.  We waved goodbye and we were back on the road, this time towards Esfahan.

An hour later and Barnaby overheated. Arrgggh! We pulled over on the side of the road and let him cool down a little.  These issues should have been left behind in Tehran!

20 minutes later and we were moving again.  42mph mean that Barnaby cruises into "Overdrive".  At this speed the engine just ticks over and doesnt need to work hard, and therefore should not overheat.  5 minutes later and Barnaby overheated again! Arrgggh!
Removing the Radiator Cap with caution we filled the Radiator in case some Coolant had escaped.  2 Litres of water in and Barnaby was still thirsty for more.  Another 2 Litres of water, and Barnaby still wants more.  It was at the start of the 3rd bottle that Barnaby announced he was full with a gargle at the top of Radiator.  Did this mean that we had another leak, or was the coolant level not topped up after the Radiator repair?
As always in Iran, a truck driver who had seen us earlier at the roadside stopped to assist.  It looked like we were OK now, but he wanted to ensure that we were OK and followed us for about 30km's to see that we were fine.  After an exchange of friendly beeps to confirm we were OK, we slowly pulled away and his Blue Truck disappeared into the distance behind us.

It was late when we finally made it into Esfahan.  The Hostel that we had marked in the Lonely Planet was full, the Hostel next door wasnt great and not cheap.  We decided to check the Hotel Totia across the road, and were pleasantly surprised to find that the price was the same as the Hostel.  The room was great, it included Breakfast and, most importantly, had secure parking.  Perfect.


Anonymous said...

PADearest Zo & Ric now that you're on way to Chennai when u get there u must c KAPALEESWARAR TEMPLE in Kutchery Rd, Mylapore,Chennai dates back to 1250 holy relic also Marina Beach, City Centre Arch ( Arch de Triomph), light house and Santhome Basilica,still enjoying immensley your blogs, wish u well/health LOADS LOVE MUM KERRIN XOXOXOXOXOX

Unknown said...

I'm from iran, tehran. and tonight was the first time i went to water & fire park!!! i was searching in the internet about the park before going there to find some information and directions and then i found your blog and i really enjoyed it. i'm sure that you will have a great time in Esfahan. good luck!