Iran - Kerman - Bam PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Thursday, 09 April 2009 10:04
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Day 26: Kerman to Bam Thursday 18th October

Today was another late start at midday with an opportunity to visit the bazaar, another Friday mosque, a caravanserai and a coin museum. If you're interested and I'm conscientious I spend too much time outlining meals, breakfast was memorable because it consisted of fried eggs, really well cooked (unbroken yokes) and a kind of French bread.

The bazaar was amazing mainly consisting of - at least the area we went to which was just one small sector of over 1.5 kilometres of passages - herbs, fruit (poor quality), watches and radios that went out of date in the 1990s. One small passageway was a barricade of sacks overflowing with the most amazing smelling herbs. The air in this area filled my head and actually made me feel dizzy. This is the nearest I have come to intoxication in Iran. I new many of the herbs but there were sacks full of red, green and blue chopped flower heads which even after asking the stall owner still remained a mystery because Vali was unable to translate. It amazes me that the market is so central to life everywhere outside England. We've encountered healthy, thriving markets in Heidelburg, Prague, Vienna, Hungary, Istanbul across Romania and Bulgaria and every town, village and city here in Iran and I don't expect them to disappear after here.

Last night was the first time that I got a sense that we're at the edge of the world and on the brink of something wild and yet not frightening in a strange sense. I have never been to Pakistan or India but I expect them both to be more English friendly than here in Iran, not the people who couldn't be more polite and courteous but the infrastructure such as internet cafes and the good old post office which is as mysterious to the Iranian authorities as the herbs in the market were to me today.

The mosque was again beautiful with the sunken area for the Imam to pray and the immaculate washrooms. Here in Kerman I made the important observation and a top tip for all travellers of the Islamic world: every mosque has excellent washing facilities with very clean and free toilets. When I made my observation to Vali he remarked 'but don't all English churches have them'? I replied 'yes they're called fonts'

We have now travelled almost the length of Iran and we have been accompanied by mountains on both side of the road all the way. The area leading into Bam is becoming more and more arid with the odd 5,000 ft mountain filling the horizon on both sides of the coach. I am looking forward to Bam an ancient mud city virtually destroyed by an enormous earthquake in 2003 and sadly killing over 50,000 of its inhabitants. Vali told me today he ran a camp for the Save the Children Fund. Perhaps organizations like this are helping to undo the damage done by British expansion in the 19th Century. It seems to me the only country more hated is Russia and perhaps this explains why the staff in last night's hotel were cheering for England.

Looking up from writing I have just noted that the mountain range on our left has now made its way almost to road whilst those on the left are now a distant series of silhouettes. We have just come to a stop as the bus now has to go through a toll. The road has been so bad for the past hour or so it seems criminal that we have to pay anything. Don't get the image that we have just come up to the kind of French type of fully automated toll booth. This was more like something out of a carry on film, like Carry On Up the Khyber, with a series of breeze blocks strategically placed to stop traffic and then direct them S shape to a large hut.


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 April 2009 10:26