November 12, 2011

busses and Tabriz

at the Shiraz bus terminal lounge there was a big flat screen tv in the front. I stopped to look at it. it was an educational screen capture video of how to format a hard drivers s pc. with windows xp if I recall correctly.

our bus from Shiraz to Tabriz was not VIP, so less comfortable to begin with. at 2am the driver decided to listen Turkish pop on his radio. loud. and the reception was not good. I think we slept altogether maybe 2h on the journey.

our day in Tabriz however was short but nice. upon arriving by the bus we saw how the city is surrounded by mountains, a very dense and busy looking place.

Emad had put us in contact with his friend Sarah, whose family sent a car (!!) to pick us from the bus terminal. after a relaxed breakfast in their home we had a 3h nap which was lovely. then it was time for lunch which Sarah and her sister Maryam prepared. then some wifi, relaxing and out to see town. we actually just quickly checked the bazaar and some shopping streets, and enjoyed waterpipe in an old hamam turned into a cafe. then off to bus terminal. I should note that the elevator in their house played some type of western classical music.

we were told that Tabriz is relatively conservative city. but then, thanks to being close to turkey, there is plenty more western products and brands available, like Mac make up. I even saw several shops selling high heeled women's shoes. but I hear they are only worn in private parties.

we really didn't want to spend another night on a bus - which we now will - so we tried quite hard the past couple days to look for alternatives. our logical favorite was to get from Tabriz to Van during the day and spend the night in a hotel. then we would not have any worry about catching the flight at 3pm on Sunday. there were no busses during the daytime, although earlier many ppl said that from Tabriz there are LOADS of connections to Van. ww got plenty of conflicting info. there were supposedly connections from nearby city Orumiyeh to Van, but just today we learned that the border on that route is closed due to the "war against PKK". we hoped to catch a shared taxi to border and from there another to Van, but due to 2 hotels collapsing in the aftermath of the most recent earthquake (4 days ago) all hotels in Van are closed now. I hear there are plenty of camping sites open now but they are not for us I guess... our almost last hope was to catch a hotel in Dogubeyazit which is some hours from Van, but ppl were suspicious if there are any hotels there, it's such a small place :( so, in the end we had to resort to the overnight bus. according to schedule we should be freezing in Van by 3am, but if this bus is as late as it often is, we will arrive at 7am or so. all depends greatly on what mood the Turkish border control is, I heard they can stall a bus for 6h. our bus is almost empty though (one passenger besides us) - for some reason no one wants to go to Van now! Van is otherwise a popular destination to Iranians with money, they shop there a lot.

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