Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chauffeured in Iran

We toyed with the idea of driving ourselves to Iran. We can drive to Fujairah in UAE. Take a ferry via Fujairah all the way to Bandar Abbas in Iran. It would be an adventure I think. But alas we did not do it.

And I am glad we did not.

iranDriving in Iran is crazy! I think by far this is the worse place for a foreigner to drive in. I thought Saudi was the worse, but Iran top them all. I heard Cairo is even worse. I cannot imagine.

In Tehran, people drive by mm away from each other and there seem to be no rule except that people should not take the two middle lanes of the road. Those are for buses.

Despite the my-heart-will-pop-out incident, so far i did not witness any accidents among them. They must have good brakes. The car may look like a scene out of Roger Moore's James Bond movie, faded and rustic, but I suspect teh brakes must be good.

On the highway, people don't like driving in their lanes. They like that the road lines to be in between them. At normal times these drive me crazy. If my lover the one who is driving, I would have nagged and nagged and perhaps pull the steering.

Oh the other thing was we could not access any satellite signal on our GPS which was frustrating. But yeah, I am glad we took a driver.

Anyway we asked for a driver and a car. We had three of them. Mr Rezai who drove us from tehran to tabriz, Mr Jafari drove us from Tabriz to Kandovan and back to Tabriz and Mr Rostam who drove us aaround Esfahan and all the way back to Tehran.

Of them three, only Mr Rezai can speak reasonably good english. And when he runs out of english word he would speak arabic. He is an arabic teacher. Yes he has two jobs. Generally everyone has two jobs because, well, time is hard. Mr Rezai said, "Teacher pay is little. Driver pay is alot."

Anyway, it was really nice to speak arabic to a foreigner. It feels sometimes that I know more arabic than english. When he is trying to say that there was an earthquake which destroyed part of a castle, he had to use zalzalah because he doesnt know the word earthquake in english. sometimes he asked me questions in arabic too.

I understand why our travel agent prefer that we take tour guides with us because most of the drivers cannot speak english which was really hard. So we tried using as much farsi word we learnt and a lot of sign languages or in the end polite laughs because we could not understand him and neither can him, we. I used pictures that I took using the phone and words in the guidebook. Otherwise I would hentam an arabic word just in case or perhaps even a malay word.

By the way we share words with Iran like Bandar which means port in farsi, anggur, takhta which is actually an arabic word and salam which means hello.

After travelling to some countries (Baru sikit aje), I must say Malaysian drivers are not so bad. But perhaps we are the only one with the most rage. Eh wait, the italians are the same. They curse alot.

In the middle east and Iran, people don't get so angry if people cut queueu ke apa. In middle east they would beam you and horn you but rarely people glare at you.

And I suspect no one carries a baseball bat under their seat also.

Mr Rezai laughing at us after the more than one hour huffing and puffing climbing up the mountain to view castle roudkhen. Most Iranians are very fit and slim.

1 comment:

papabear said...

try driving in new york suburbs... it would be fun! anyway, great trips that you had there in Iran!