Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Iran–Bandar Abbas (8-13 August 2012)

We arrived in Bandar Abbas International Airport after a two hour flight. It is only 7.35am. We hung around the airport before takıng a taxi to Rajaei Shahid Port to meet Mr. Ali Askari, our English interpreter, and Mr. Maziar, the shipping agent who will help release our Sorento from captivity. Ali and Maziar got to work immediately and took Dad to the customs office to arrange for custom clearance. We were told that it will take a few days before we can be reunited with our Sorento. Seeing that it is going to take a few days, we checked in at Hotel Amin.

Bandar Abbas is a growing and developing city. We could see new buildings sprouting up everywhere and walkways were under construction.

Unlike Tehran, Bandar Abbas is very hot (40 oC) and dry. We could feel the heat burning down on us the moment we stepped out in the open. Ali told us that it only rained for one day in Bandar Abbas last year and that this is the hottest place in Iran. 

Our hotel had the view of the Straits of Hormuz. The hotel has a large restaurant and a coffee house. We had lunch at the hotel restaurant and mum and I found the food yummy. Preferring spicy food, dad found the dishes a little bland but commended on the style and arrangement of the dishes.

P1030699 >> Clockwise, two servings of Fish Kebabs, a “Dish of Chicken”, as it is simply called in English on the menu. We also ordered a “Dish of Shrimp” but what came was beef instead.

At night, we took a walk to the nearby bazaar. Within minutes we felt the heat and after about an hour, we were drenched in sweat as it was still hot even at 10pm. The bazaar was packed with people, some of whom were busy buying new clothes for their children for the coming Eid celebration.

We made our way back to the hotel and headed straight to the coffee house for supper. The menu was written entirely in Iranian but the waiter was very patient and polite and translated the menu for us. Not wanting to make the same mistake of over ordering on our lunch order, we ordered a small chicken pizza and chips and cheese to go with our pepsi with extra ice. 

<< The best pizza I have ever had so far. It was full to the brim with shredded chicken, cheese, olives, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms and sesame seeds.
The next morning, we took our time with breakfast. Dad felt that Iranian breakfast was one of the best but he still preferred the typical English breakfast. I liked the combination of bread, cheese and tomatoes best.

The plate of tomatoes and orange juice came later so they are not in the pic (I was too busy chomping away to take another pic) >>

After breakfast, while waiting for Ali to update us on the status of the custom clearance, we took a walk within the vicinity of the hotel as the heat is unbearable.

At about 11 am, I got a call from a Malaysia landline. It was Mr. Behzad from the Islamic Republic of Iran Embassy in Malaysia. He was checking in to see how we were progressing and if we needed any help. It was comforting to know that we have someone following our trip in Iran. Mr. Behzad informed us that tomorrow (Friday) is the weekend and also a public holiday in Iran.

Shortly after, Ali informed us that the container with our Sorento will be transported to a separate location for custom assessment/evaluation on Saturday.

12 August 2012 (Sunday) – We received a call from Mr Hamid, our shipping agent, to collect our Sorento at the custom complex. At 1.30pm we were reunited with our Sorento. First thing we did was to refuel our Sorento, which we did at the Diesel station near Rajaei Shahid Port. Buying Diesel (or Gazoil as it is called in Persian) is not the same in Iran as it is in Malaysia. As we did not have a fuel card yet, we had to ask the pump attendant to help us out. After a while, we managed to get our Sorento fueled up.

We decided to stay another night in Bandar Abbas and drive out first thing the next morning. Dinner was delayed by one hour as our Sorento refused to start. One of the hotel guest (who happened to be a mechanic) quickly sprang into action and started checking our battery. He found that the battery has dried up and topped up the battery fluid. Our Sorento still did not want to start. He then tried to jump start and that failed too. In the end, he took out the entire battery and replaced it with the battery from the car belonging to the Hotel staff and our Sorento started. He then left us with specific instruction to leave our Sorento running for at least and hour to recharge the battery. We thanked our lucky stars that we decided the stay the night instead of heading out immediately.

The next morning, our Sorento started without even a cough and we headed out of Bandar Abbas towards Bastak. The weather along the way was still very hot. The temperature on touched 49.5oC and our thermometer was also showing about 50oC. As the humidity was low, we did not sweat as much as we would have at home. Our drive took us through the villages of Gachin e-pace, Kalmotali, Dargur, Shikh Abad before we reached our first police checkpoint at about 1.20pm. Seeing that the police man did not stop us we casually drove past but was stop by another police man at the end of the check point area. He told us to turn around. Back again at the police post, we showed our magic document from the customs office and he waved us through. Along the way we crossed some bridges but there was not even a drop of water flowing through it.

We reached Bastak and found the town to be deserted as it was Ramadan and everyone was indoors. We waited until the shops are opened in the evening to get dinner. We tried our luck to get some more diesel into our Sorento and to our joy we managed to get another 40 litres. We were also caught by surprise when a sudden thunder storm and heavy shower hit Bastak, having heard that it rarely rains in this region. We decided to push on towards Lar.

The drive was much cooler and we reached Lar around midnight. We had a chips and hot dog supper at a nearby fast food joint before turning in for the night.

DSC_0226BA to Lar viewBA to Lar view 2BA to Lar view 3BA to Lar view 4

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