Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Journey from Tehran to Mazandaran

The taxi that drove us from Tehran to Mazandaran
After a long 8 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran, the three of us arrived at the Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA) at 9.40pm local time and by 10.40pm, we cleared the customs and immigration and changed some of our USD. We were met and greeted by Ali who has arranged transportation to Amol, Mazandaran, 240km north of Iran. In Mazandaran we will be putting up with a close friend who has insisted that we come to his house for few days. Due to time constraint and the inconsistency of domestic flight, we had no other choice but to travel that night by taxi which will take about 4 to 5 hours. We were given an Iranian Sim card and after a brief chat we were all set to begin the journey at about 11pm.

Ali spoke very little English and the driver spoke none. It is really dangerous traveling at night across the mountains but my friend in Ahvaz and Mazandaran assured me that they will be monitoring all the time to make sure everything is alright! In any circumstances or difficulties I would have to speak to my friend in Mazandaran or Ahvaz and they will be communicating with the driver.  We are in a foreign land and this is my first visit to Iran...I felt lost for a moment and had to follow the plan closely.

Soon we are on the winding mountainous road to Mazandaran with several long stretch of tunnels along the mountains and the driver was driving fast and at times reckless. At one point, we missed a lorry so close that he then decided to make a stop at a road side café for a cup of tea (coffee is not a popular beverage in Iran)…he must be sleepy! 

The cafe in the middle of no where
The café is in the middle of no where…I wasn’t even sure where it was. After a few minutes, we were on the road again. I decided to have a nap because I thought it would be better not to experience the driving thrill! Every now and then both friends from Ahvaz and Mazandaran called to check our where about. Then, the driver stopped again….he said something in Persian to us but unfortunately we couldn’t make sense of it. He went to some kind of police station across the road and I was wondering if we were crossing kind of borders with another country! 

We stayed awake and alert in suspense, it was almost 3 am and the roads are less winding and as I thought we were about to arrive. Using sign language the driver instructed me to call my friend and a gate opened with my friend standing in front. We arrived at his place at about 3.25am and the whole house was lighted to welcome us. His wife insisted that we have light meal and after fajar at 4.10am we went to bed. It was such a great relief for us and our friends that we arrived safely in Mazandaran.

A meal at 3.25am
Warm bread

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