Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A small amount of bad people in Iran

I was sitting in a park in Alīgūdarz waiting for drew to catch up. I'm using my phone to check out places to stay in Dorud when a car stops near my bike then reverses up a bit. A guy in the back says 'salam' (hello) then he says something else but I say 'no Farsi' to him. He gets out of the car comes over and shakes my hand and then says the thing again but I say 'no Farsi' again... Then he puts his hand in my phone and tries to take it. I tell him he can't have that, thinking he just wants to write something in it to help translate. He tries grabbing the phone again, and again I tell him again that he can't have it. Then he shows me some coins in his hand and then tries grabbing the phone away again, but I've got a good grip on it so he can't get it no matter how hard he tries.

Another person in the car says something and then he gets in the car and they take off. I'm sitting there wondering what just happened and decided to take note of it all in my phone.

While writing down this strange occurrence on my phone the same car stops near my bike again. This time the guy gets out of the car and I put my phone in my zipped pocket so he can't get it. He comes over and says something and looks sorry and then he asks that I type this number into my phone that he's trying to tell me. I tell him my phone doesn't work here and I'm not getting it out again for him to make a grab at. He seems to give up but he goes past my bike on the way to the car. When he's at my bike he unzips my tank bag top pocket (see through) and takes out the Spot GPS messenger. As he unzipped the bag I got up and ran over to catch up but I only got to the car as it was driving off with him in it. Well of course I'm now annoyed, a few people who saw what happened came over but none spoke English so I wonder if I should get the police, but I have no details on them and forgot to get the number plate with all this happening.

Lucky they didn't take the GPS or the bike (which still had the keys in it, you can usually trust people here). If they use the Spot they give away its location anyway, and if they use the SOS button they'll have police/ambulance come after them. So good luck with that. My only concern would be getting to some internet access so I can let the company know it has been stolen. After lots of loud complaining to people I give up and put all my gear on and get on the bike but I decide to wait and see if drew catches up. Then I notice a car coming up and it was them again! The guy in the front if the car had his hands on it this time and he's still trying to talk Farsi to me and I'm using the most colorful language I can to let them know they're idiots but I'm not going over there away from the bike so they can get near my stuff again. A kid who had witnessed all of this got it from the car and then came back to give it to me. And they drove off again. The one in front was saying sorry out the window I think but I couldn't hear him over how loud I was giving them the middle finger. I guess they couldn't figure out what it was or what it does so gave it back? What just happened...

There were four people in the car so I have no idea what I could have done if they actually wanted to take my stuff. Way to make me wary of everyone and spoil Iran...

I put the spot messenger in my pocket, thanked the kid, then got out of there in case they come back again. Outside of the town Drew catches up and then we keep going to Dorud.

In the Dorud we're looking for a hotel that's in the Lonely Planet but the directions given in the guidebook are very vague. We stop in the middle of a busy road next to some taxis and some people come over and start talking to us in broken English (and us in broken Farsi). We ask where the hotel is and I show them the name on my phone and they take my phone to have a discussion about the name, luckily they're trustworthy and I get it back. They say the hotel is down the road after the second roundabout via a series of strange hand gestures. But one of them is a taxi driver and gets in his taxi and has us follow him to the hotel. Once we get there he points us to the driveway in then he waves and heads off. Didn't want payment or anything!

I had some extremes of people interaction in Iran Yesterday... Note that a majority of people are helpful and nice, but only takes a few to spoil it. We have strayed off the main tourist trail though so perhaps we'll run into more of the bad types in future.

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