Posts Tagged ‘Tikmedash’


We’re on the cycle tourist Silk Road. Amir in Miyaneh knows that we were in Marand, and are on our way. Cyclists from Marand pass Miyaneh four days later on the touring cyclist freeway. People wave at us constantly, and some pass the information on. And Amir arrives.

Friends in Miyaneh

Friends in Miyaneh

Just before entering Miyaneh we were pulled over by a guy who pulled out his Nokia phone, put on my sunglasses, and started interviewing James with me as the cameraman (using his phone). He has been working for 14 years in communications.
‘Where are you from?’
‘What do you think of Iranian people?’
‘How do you know this?’
And so the conversation continued, with constant checking that I was satisfactorily filling my role as cameraman.
I was from Germany (I change my story to fit my mood), which meant I could answer questions about Hitler and the war. And I could behold his French language (which I couldn’t understand).

Interview

Interview

So, our days are punctuated with fascinating – if somewhat surreal – encounters.

Our encounter with Amir was not surreal, but fascinating. He is a motivated, energetic young man with many ideas for his town. He is working on setting up a cyclist caravan sarei in the town, and is working on an anti-rubbish campaign. He was great to talk to, and a wealth of information and energy!


‘We are from the information police. Come with us.’
An ID was waved in front of us by one of the young men, clad in a leather jacket, that had pulled us over with their motor scooter. This resulted in a ride downhill back into the village, SD cards checked, sparkling grape juice drank, and word of a letter to all young Americans and Europeans (like us) from the great leader Khomeni.

Eating watermelons

Eating watermelons

Eating watermelons

Eating watermelons

But, of course, we don’t have a photo of the interrogation (thank goodness – a photo of that would have taken some explaining). We do have footage of us consuming watermelons – which has now been checked by the information police. There were many watermelon sellers on the side of the road. We were also invited in by a shop-keeper that is an avid cyclist. He showed us lots of photos of his cycling trips through Iran.

The wind was with us, and had blown us up the hill from Tabriz. We were leaving the small town of Bostanabad, and were pleased to have climbed the last hill before the next town many kilometres away. Not to be, as we were pulled over by two young men, beards neatly trimmed, that had the air of religious missionaries.
‘How are you? Please come with us.’
We really didn’t want to, all the way back downhill, but it became clear that refusing was not an option. Down we went, receiving repeated apologies.
Into the army barracks.
‘This is a camera?’ They were looking at the GoPro. ‘Give me the SD card. And your passports.’
Then we were ushered inside.
‘Do you speak Farsi?’
‘No.’
Then the water came out. And then the red grape sparkling juice.
The great leader was watching us from his portrait on the wall.
‘He is our great leader: Khomeni. Have you studied him?’
Um.. Not sure of the answer there.
‘Have you read the letter he has written to all young Americans and Europeans?’
‘Have you got it there?’ asked James. ‘Is it on the internet?’
An answer was not forthcoming.
‘You should study the letter.’
I would love to.

After about 20 minutes, my GoPro SD card with watermelon consumption footage was returned (formatted with all photos and videos deleted), and we were allowed to continue.

We now find ourselves in the ruins of a Silk Road caravan sarai. We set-up shop, cooked our dinner in a little arched alcove, and did the dishes, all before dark.

Preparing dinner

Preparing dinner

Preparing dinner

Preparing dinner

Oh. And yesterday was our day off – we walked around the Grand Bazaar in Tabriz, seeing fluorescent chicks, piles of sugar cubes, and whatever the heart desires.

Fluorescent chicks

Fluorescent chicks