Road lines are more like abstract paintings for drivers to admire. People simply do not pay any attention to them. What would be a three lane road back home becomes a five lane, or six lane road here. Â This is an observation quickly made seconds after stepping into a vehicle in Iran.
Following the advice of our Iran Lonely Planet travel guide, Chris and I decided to hire a taxi to take us from a city called Zanjan to an archaeological site called Takht-e-Soleiman for a couple hours and then on to a small city called Bijar.
We found a driver and agreed with his cost of $50 US dollars for the trip. When we came into the mountainous part of the drive our taxi driver started cutting corners.Â He would drive in the wrong lane on blind corners, on winding mountain roads that were marked with solid double lines.Â Many huge work trucks drive on the roads. Images of ploughing head-on into one of them around a corner flashed in my mind.
To top it off, there are no seat belts in any vehicles. You may find one end of the belt, but you can be 99% sure the other end wonâ€™t be there. The only thing that keeps me calm in these situations is the fact that itâ€™s out of my control. Yes I could stop the taxi and try to find another, but if I did that every time I was scared Iâ€™d still be in Canada.
Almost 1-hour after leaving Zanjan I saw a road sign say, â€œBijarâ€. I was puzzled.Â Unless we had a turn off coming up the taxi driver was not taking us to our destinations in the order we designated.
â€œIs this taxi going the right way?â€ I asked Chris.
Chris tapped the driver on the shoulder and tried to ask. The driver and the unidentified passenger sitting in the front seat both started talking in Farsi while making unrecognizable and confusing hand gestures. I picked up something like, â€œYou go there, then there and then back…â€
Upon arriving to Bijar the taxi driver kicked us out. He told us we had to go with another driver and pay him $25 US dollars more to get from the site back to Bijar! I was angry and frustrated. The driver had taken us in the wrong direction and in the wrong order costing us $25 more dollars than we had agreed and 2-hours more driving then necessary. From now on weâ€™re going to try to stick to buses.
What an incredible adventure. These are the memories that will be your treasures for life. It sure beats the hell out of “Man, I was so hungover I could barely make it to the swim-up bar!” I love reading about your adventures. Sounds like a book in the making.
Laura Beauchamp Reply:
June 25th, 2010 at 8:41 pm
Thanks Allan. You’re definitely right. We’ll never forget this once of a life-time adventure. It has reminded us how important travel is and we have pledged to ourselves that we will go on at least one 3-week trip every year. Then when the time allows we’ll go on a 2-3 month trip, but never a 8-9 month trip again. It’s simply to long. A book! Who knows, perhaps one day. I honestly wouldn’t know where to begin though.