Today I visited three major sites, of Persian history, about eighty or so kilometres out of Shiraz. Ali, my driver was here nice and early. The sun was shining and although cool to start of with, it looked like it was going to be a wonderful sunny day. Ali, who very limited English, and me with my twenty sentences in Farsi, had a lot of fun trying to understand each other. Persepolis, Pasargadaes and Naqsh-e Rostam,
I know I have been joking about the traffic being absolutely awful, well today on the 160 kilometres round trip, I can explain to you all, WHY! All the traffic hops lanes for no reason at all, you just go across two or three lanes, zigzagging is what most cars do, even when there is no reason for it. That wouldn’t be so bad, but indicators are not at all used. They seem to be a luxury item, not to be used to often in case they wear out. The government of Iran could safe themselves millions of dollars by just not painting line on the road at all. Most cars, and the enormous amounts of trucks I saw today ride on the white line. I have aged at least ten years in one day, when next to a truck the truck decides to change lane, so they swing these enormous beast into our direction, while there is no -where to go!
Ali kept telling me that he was a real good driver, I agreed with him, but I am not so sure about these others. We had so many near misses, that I realise that there are no atheists on the roads of Iran! Speed limits also seem to be optional. Ali was sitting on 100 km an hour, while the signs indicated that it would be nice if the traffic could go at 80 kilometres an hour, or 60 even. It is all optional. Sometimes, if the driver in front of you slows down, you are forced to do so until you can drive across the other lanes. The worst thing is that I am sitting in the drivers seat, well, my Australian driver seat, while all the while praying these gas tankers don’t go across while we are next to them, I want to take control, at least of the brakes! Distance between cars? What? Is a matchbox not sufficient distance?? The government could save on signs indicating how much distance drivers should keep, how fast they should drive and white lines!
Where was I? Oh, yeah on the way to Persepolis, while have lots of mini heart attacks, we finally arrived. The entree was dirt cheap A$6, if my calculations are correct! You enter and walk a long boulevard to the great entrance. In the oldern days these had carvings on them. Some people were walking around with THREE D things in front of their eyes, and I asked this boy what they were. Well, they were amazing, where ever you looked the place would build itself up again. Like right in front of your eyes these palaces would be rebuilt. Amazing. I still didn’t work out if you got them at the entrance of people brought there own! As per usual I watched the video of what it used to look like after I had been to the site. Ali, allowed me only one and a half hour to walk around and I should have told him it wasn’t enough. It never is! Most of the tourists were Irani, but I met one French tour group. So not real busy and over- run by tourist.
After the magical experience of wandering around admiring the stone carvings of so long ago, it was time to move on to Pasargadae, where the tomb of Cyrus- the Great is. Seventy kilometres of sheer petrification, mini heart attacks, and at least three close call. I decided to keep my eyes closed until we were there. Ali gave me twenty minutes! Eh? I went through all this life changing trauma, for just twenty minutes at the site? No way!! At Pasargadae is where the tomb of Cyrus the Great stands. After walking a bit further, there was a caravanserais totally destroyed. The other sites were further away and for eighty cents one could catch a little tourist train. This I did. There was not much left of it all, but I was taken lots of photos of what looked like ancient calligraphy on a big rock, when a man pointed out the the inscription of ” I AM CYRUS ” ! It was high up at the top of the stellae. I had been photographing the graffiti ! Well, I could easily be forgiven as the graffiti looked a lot like our Indigenous rock carvings!!
When I came back I noticed a change in Ali, I had taken over fourty five minutes, rather than the “allowed” twenty minutes! Mental note to self I must ask how much time I pay for as well! He kept asking me if I was hungry, but since my hostel has an enormously great and tasteful breakfast, I kept saying I wasn’t! It never occurred to me to ask him if he was! My only excuse for that was that he had brought Iranian stone bread in the morning. It is called stone bread, (because it is cooked on a hot flat stone).I made the assumption he had brought his own lunch!! The last stop was the tomb of Darius the great,his son Darius the second, Xerxes the great and Artaxerxes I. Magnificent rock carvings! Stunning stone carvings. Very beautiful!
On the way back to Shiraz, again Ali started about food, finally I clicked! So I offered to buy him lunch! We stopped at an expensive tourist restaurant, when we arrived there, he didn’t want lunch at all! He wanted an extra € 7, rather than the lunch , he wanted extra money!! I gave him a five American dollar tip! Which is quite extravagant for Iran. I figured it being No Ruz and all ( Iranian new year) he argued and argued! I don’t often loose my cool while travel, always being aware that I am a guest in a foreign country! This time however I lost it!! Basta!! Enough, in many languages! He got the drift! The next day I ignored his on the hour phone calls, you can cheat me, but often not more than once! Just such a shame as I had a fabulous day, magnificent history, and literally lived all day on the edge!