Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Camel Man of Percepolis

The desert wind was relentless but we rode on dodging the tumbleweed and trying to avoid the bigger dust devils. When they did hit they hit hard and threw us from one side of the road to the other and back again.

We had 235 miles to ride in these conditions if we were to make it from Yazd to Percepolis and it was hard work keeping the rubber side down.

Rhonda used up more fuel that usual. I think it was due to the constant battle against the wind. I had certainly used up more energy so I can only assume the same applied.

Our intention was to camp next to the City of Persians but we managed to find a cabin to rent for about £8. As we were both EXTREMELY hot and tired by now we decided to take it. It was heaven!

Percepolis was indeed magnificent. The highlight was being treated to a private performance by a guy we found up at the highest point in a natural accoustic zone. Click HERE for video.

On leaving the site we stopped to chat to some guys outside who were offering camel and horse rides to any passing trade. What a lovely bunch of guys. We stayed and drank tea with them and used passers by to interpret for us when required! Otherwise we used laughter and pointing. We then got a lift home on a camel! Not something I had expected but great fun non the less! In fact it was the highlight of my day!

The heat was getting to me!
The next morning we went back to say goodbye and spend a little time with our new friends before hitting the road again and heading for the centre of Shiraz. The city Heidi and I had heard so much about. It is known as the city of poets, wine and flowers. Ironic really as it is of course forbidden to drink wine in Iran!
After what seemed like hours of searching in the midday heat, we finally found the hostel we were looking for, down a little alley off the main street. We stayed at the Golshan Hotel and although it was a nice place in some respects I wouldn't recommend it as I felt it was overpriced (with no room for negotiation) and the staff were not always helpful.

My highlight of Shiraz was meeting Arash. A natural born superstar! His energy is infectious and his talent spreads across many things from biking to engineering to videography and even dancing! Oh yes he has the moves! "This is the reason I travel"  I thought as we spent the morning together. To meet people like Arash. My one regret for Iran is that I did not have more time to spend
Borrowing a ride!
with Arash the Superstar and the Camel Man of Percepolis.

Later that day Heidi and I went our separate ways. Heidi heading back up North while I continued on my route further in to the intense heat and humidity of the south. Sadly, as I was getting on my bike to leave I realised my tent and compressor had been stolen off the front of my bike. The secure parking it seemed had not been so secure, despite the attendant sleeping right next to the bikes and covering them with a blanket! After a bit of venting at the security man I gave up and hit the road! It was too hot to argue! Now I know why the Iranians are all so placid! It's just too hot to argue!!

Arash the superstar
Firuzabad was a small town just 60km from Shiraz but after the ride in I spent 2 hours sleeping at my
hosts house before I could find the energy to check out the area! Wearing a jacket and helmet seemed crazy in this heat and it was draining. I was not prepared to take either off though and so it had to be this way. Shorter trips followed by a sleep!

My host for the night turned out to be a judge! This was great news! What an opportunity to get some insight on his take on the Iranian laws.  After all, everyone else was of the same opinion. The governement need to relax and listen to the people. What say the judge (who shall remain nameless)?

It wasn't long before the topic came up whilst walking in the hills later that evening (the judge in his suit of course!). He suggested I remove my Hijab if it bothered me (it did as I was constantly fighting with the wind to keep it on whilst taking pictures). I thanked him and without prompting he said that he was in a daily battle with himself. By day he had to agree with the government but by night he had his own opinions. He was a muslim and a good man but he felt the same as everyone else. Some of these laws were crazy and pointless. People should have the freedom to choose their religion and free thinking should be encouraged.
Dinner with friends

 As we got nearer to the road I replaced my hijab,  particularly as I could see a police car parked up near ours. I was reminded that it was fine and to leave it off. I pointed out the traffic and the police car. The judge replied "Please do not worry. I am a judge. If anyone should bother us, I will have them in court tomorrow" and he laughed.

I liked the judge! He was a
The new me?
funny and kind man and I really enjoyed my time with him and his family and also with his friends, who we had dinner with that night. They were Turkish Iranian and later I dressed up in traditional Turkish dress for a giggle! I also attempted to teach the kids to juggle! I was a little rusty but good enough to get a laugh and I left Hossein, the very polite and intelligent 9 year old, with some tips and suggested he practice daily! It was my way of returning the favour for teaching me some Persian! I'm sure within weeks he will have mastered juggling. I am equally as sure that I will have forgotten my Persian!

The next morning I rode 150 miles to the city of Lar, where I took up residence in a very basic but practical hotel. They were suprised I wanted to stay as it was usually only locals that stayed here. They took me to a tourist hotel but on discovering the price I came back with them. After all, all I needed was a good nights sleep and a safe place for Rhonda. This hotel could provide both. Click HERE for Video.

I left at 5.30am and watched the sunrise on the road as I headed for my final destination in Iran. Bandar Lengeh and my ferry to Dubai.


  1. Just had a catch up with your adventure so far. Wish I had the time/circumstances to do something similar. Good luck with the next leg.

  2. Love the camel film, but no way does she beat Rhonda! xx