Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Race to the tower

"To the Towers of silence driver, and step on it!" I cried with a giggle as I lept in to the back seat of our Taxi. Max, the golden haired 21 year old from Holland jumped in the front seat and Sophie, the chatty Belgiun lady, from London climbed in next to me. Max agreed "Go for it mate, we want to catch the sunset". Sophie had other ideas "There's no rush! Please take your time"

The driver seemed to be just waiting for an excuse to drive like a hooligan (I know the feeling) and so the next 15 minutes was a crazy dash through the city, skimming other cars, bullying our way through the traffic and shouting at people to get out of the way. This was an emergency! I laughed as Max jumped to the other side of the seat when he thought we were going to hit something. It really was that close at times! Poor Sophie managed to stay calm on the outside and gave up suggesting we slow down. I think she secretly enjoyed the ride as did the rest of us!


We made it as the sun was setting but there was no time to climb the hill to the tower before it
disappeared for another day (I went back the next day and caught it
). We climbed anyway and took in the view of the city by night. It was worth the effort and personally I would have paid the money just for the thrill of the taxi ride!

The tower of Silence is just one of the many historical sights in Yazd that is a relic of the Zoroastrian days before Iran was consumed by the Beduin Arabs and converted to Islam during the 9th century (there are still pockets of Zoroastrian followers today). This tower was where the sky burials took place. The priest would sit and wait with the bodies as they were devoured by the vultures.
Nothing was buried as it was believed to contaminate the soil and burning would contaminate the air.
Tibet and Mongolia still have areas where sky burials take place (although I believe for different reasons) and personally I think is a great way to recycle the bodies. It makes sense to use them to sustain life and keep it in the circle, if not a little gruesome for the families.

I leave Yazd tomorrow after several days at the Silk Road Hotel. A cheap and cheerful hostel with more Europeans than you can shake a stick at! Although I usually try and avoid the well trodden paths, it has been nice to meet up with some fellow travellers, each with a story to tell. Heidi has been behind me all the way, having left from Belgium on her BMW650 at the beginning of April. Yesterday she caught up and tomorrow we head for Persopolis (City of Persians) just outside Shiraz for a night of wild camping next to this ancient site. We will then ride to Shiraz together before Heidi heads back home and I continue south to Dubai.

Yazd has been interesting but I must admit, there has been a lot of hassle from men here. I had one incident involving a taxi driver taking me the wrong way despite me telling him so. He refused to stop even when I shouted and at him several times (pretending not to understand what I meant) and only pulled over when I opened the door. He then grabbed my hands as I got out and tried to kiss them (a big no no in Iran). I was also followed by a young man on a motorbike for 10 minutes whilst walking in the town and he kept riding ahead, stopping and insisting I got on his bike. He would not give up. A shopkeeper was shouting at me not to get on shouting "Police Police"(I hadn't planned on it) and eventually he rode off. Heidi also had a couple of minor incidents and although neither of us felt under any great threat at any point, I feel a great sense of frustration amongst the men, here more than anywhere else I have visited in Iran so far. Although I don't condone their behaviour, I think I can understand the reasons behind it!

Most people who visit Iran will tell you the same thing. They will repeat the words of the lonely planet "The Iranians are wonderfully friendly people and you are completely safe there". I don't necessarily disagree. Most will go above and beyond to help you as has been the case on so many occasions. I have been extremely grateful and humbled by what I have seen. However, every culture and every country has it's problems and instincts, of course, should still be kept on alert at all times as with any other country you travel through. Man or woman. It may seem an obvious statement but it is easy to get drawn in and although I believe we must learn to trust more as human beings, we should also not be naive! It's a fine balancing act and as a woman travelling alone it is one I must be sure to master.

Today has been an admin day, trying to sort out shipping to Dubai and then to India to try and keep to my promise of being in Mumbai for the 21st June. I have been invited to the Motorcycle Travellers Meet as a guest speaker and I hate to break a promise!

Shipping is a hassle! No way around it! It was never going to be easy and the heat doesn't help but I
have cake and I have time so I am staying calm! For now!


18 comments:

  1. Keep safe keep vigilant but importantly keep rolling on Shiny side up xx

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  2. Hi Steph, really enjoying your posts and video clips, and look forward to catching up with your latest updates in the evenings, you have a talent for being very informative, interesting and fun too. It’s fantastic to find out more about a country and its real people first hand rather than it’s all too often negative portrayal in our press. Stay safe hun, looking forward following you all the way.
    Ps hope your filling up them memory cards
    best wishes
    nige xx

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    1. Thats really good of you to say so. Thanks Nige. I hope I can continue to entertain for as long as possible xx

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  3. Beautiful photos especially the last one. Thoroughly enjoying your posts and videos!

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  4. Hi Steph, It's Fletch from Hereford again. Very wise words in your Tuesday post - I considered mentioning the 'man-hassle' factor but decided against as it is the minority and you seem to be able to take care of yourself. Some of the girls on our bus encountered it.
    We left the bus in Tehran and took the train to Mashad, bus to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Delhi and train to Bombay(as it was) where you are heading. The Tehran train skirted the north of the desert you have skirted south.
    By the way, your mum's choice of music is very apt (Steppenwolf).
    Best, John

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    1. Hi John. Yes you're right it is the minority and like i said, I didnt feel under any real threat. The rest of the people certainly make up for it.

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  5. Hi
    Great to be following your trip, how's the bike doing ?

    Allen

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  6. Whish you luck with all the paper work and a safe boat journey, Steph.

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  7. I have just finished reading your whole blog. Wanted to follow you as I have known about your journey from before the Excel Motorcycle show, but have not been able to till now. I was there at the show to speak to the industry and ran out of time to see you. For me your journey is proof, what I am working towards is possible. I will keep following you. Look forward reading more. Keep it up.

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    1. Thanks Caroline. Are you planning a similar trip? Tell all...

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  8. I tip my hat to you for taking on a adventure through the middle east! This is my first look at your page, and I'm enjoying experiencing your adventure!

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    1. Thanks for joining me! : 0 ) I hope you hang around for the next bit!!!

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  9. Hi Steph, I would take the ferry from Iran to Khasab in Mussandam (northern exclave of Oman). Driving in the UAE can be tricky at best on a bike, plus the temperatures have hit the high 40'sC with humidity above 70%. Down at the Liwa the temperature is just shy of 50C with very low humidity but very uncomfortable due to the heat. I would recommend Khasab, then onto Diba - via the mountain route - before Fujeirah in the UAE, then head down to Sohar in Oman, Muscat and onto Salalah. Temperature is dropping in Salalah and will be 25C by late June due to the coastal Monsoon. Everything is green, but slightly damp!

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    1. Hi Mike. Been offline a few days. Thanks for taking the time to advice but I have a friend here in Dubai and I have now arrived. He has made my arrival so much easier and I am now clean, fed and watered and most importantly, sat under the air con!!

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  10. Glad to see your still going strong and that you are enjoying your adventures, am still sharing your posts on facebook so others can check it out.

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  11. Hi Steph,
    The pics very nice,look your adventure is fantastic,again i like to invite you, come to my Vietnames country to ride,if difficult to shipping bike,no worry,here have CRF for you, from Idia to Vietnam not far,
    Have a nice day,
    Cuong,

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