Day 52 - Tue 06 May 08
Up early and out to the bus station in a 10,000R taxi, the bus leaves at 08:30 so I have about an hour to kill. I meet up with some Austrians who are heading for China and couch surfing their way there. Time flies and I have to get on the bus, then time drags and we've got a blaring TV on the coach for most of the trip.
The coach arrives at 15:15 on the bus station at the edge of the city. Luckily I'm taken under someone's wing and he gets me into the city centre on a local bus, and as per usual he won't let me pay. The bus drops me right next to the train office (not the station, the downtown office that sells tickets!), so I pop in to get my next ticket. Bad News. The Tehran sleeper is booked solid for today and tomorrow, so I select a day train 15:00->21:00. Later than I'd normally go for, but needs must when the devil drives.
Next I need to find a hotel, they are all grouped together so that makes it a bit easier. I decide to splash out and get a good room, and I find one for 420,000R which is twice what I'm used to paying. I'm unsure so head off to see what else is available. Not much as it turns out, so I head back for my 420,000R room only to find out that it's gone. Oh well. End up in the dive next door for 148,000R well at least it's saving me money.
Decide to send back one of my LP's to save weight so I walk a long way to find the main post office. On the way I manage to buy a roll of tape, from a blind street vendor. Quite how I managed that I have no idea, as he spoke no English. Then an envelope was obtained from a book store (don't ask). When I arrived at the post office it was deserted, but I manage to post the book for 680,000R (about US$ 7).
Head back to the Imam Square and I have to say I'm not mega impressed, but there is one thing I haven't seen before, a painted mural above the entrance to the bazaar, very un-Islamic. Headed down to the river which I saw on the bus on the way into the city. Everyone out seems to be out walking and there are bats skimming the water as the sun sets. Walk back up to the square and things have improved now the sun has gone down. People are just sitting on the grass chatting and eating picnics.
Had a look in some of the shops around the square, and obtain a beautiful miniature of polo players playing in the square painted on a piece of bone. US$ Nice. I return to my hotel room to find that a huge fan has been turned on, the noise is fantastic. Luckily, just as I'm ready to go to sleep it goes off.