Bumming out in Rasht

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ November 13th, 2007. Updated on April 18th, 2009. Published in: Travel blog » Iran.

Travel Journal Overview: Solo travel often means spending too much time alone. Questioning yourself more times over than is good for you. Here, after an attempt at finding home in Europe, a visa rush, and a Lonely Planet guide book that was written with a flowery hand, I bummed out.

Gold Markets are popular in Iran (click to enlarge)

Gold Markets are popular in Iran (click to enlarge)

Kirsty has told me the name of a man who had sorted out her trip to Masuleh from the little bus terminal in Rasht, and as I asked the first pointy faced bus ticket guy for “Rasser” he merely started giving me directions to other Iranian cities. I resorted to caveman like tactics of my name pointing and then his name pointing… nope.

Neither he nor his unhelpful friend could understand the most basic of human communication skills. I asked the times of the Esfahan bus. 5pm. Could I leave me bag here as I wanted to go to Masuleh for the day? Nope, cave man tactics again resulted in him pointing outside saying No11. I looked out, everything was closed. I went for a pee. On my return he was on the phone, and ignoring me. I went to a different office.

Success, I could get a ticket for 70,000 to Esfahan tonight, but failure I could not leave my bag anywhere. A taxi to Masuleh would also cost me 70,000?!! I was getting completely pissed off. My stomach hurt, I was tired, and I wondered why the hell I wanted to see a bloody green hilled town anyway. I wanted men in Jilabi’s and women cooking great Tagine! I was starting to dislike the nonexistent Iranian hospitality & with the prospect of luggin my backpack around the little green town had lost all interest in it.

I bought a ticket to Esfahan and wandered back out into the dawning day. I sat on the steps of the bus terminal where the sun was starting to shine. I watched the pack of taxi drivers by the exit of the car park, scurring around their yellow vehicles looking for prey. Would I pay 7-8 Euro just for a quick day trip to a village I had lost interest in, or would I just sit there and sulk. Yes, I did the latter.

Iran was grating me the wrong way, single female no problems, single male on a budget…problems. Who gave a shit, no one noticed me, no one approached me as I sat on the steps. If this had been Turkey countless people would have come up to ask if I was alright. I looked through the TB and cursed TB for its flowery descriptions of Iranian hospitality, sights and experiences. It was the anticipation that was getting to me, no longer would I read TB’s “the world is wonderful” descriptions.

I mapped out my route through Iran, taking into account my lack of excitement. Esfahan would make or break it for me. If it was bad, then I would head straight for the Pakistan border. I wanted ancient charm like that of Maroc, and what I was getting was far from charm.

I moved over to a little old mans food stall and ate a miserable burger. I moved only 3 times that day, once to eat, once to avoid and incoming bus and once to mover out of the sun. 9 hours later, with 2 more to go, I moved only back to the miserable burger joint, and cringed as I hurriedly washed it down with a Bibsi cola. I showed the old man my seat number and asked him to translate. He typed into his greasy calculator and the display showed 44. The rear seat of the bus… Why me today?

It really was one of those things about having a bad day. So what else to do, but nothing, let the deity controlling my day pass by. Do nothing, sit and wait for it to be over. But this was having other effects on me; too much time. I was being confronted with reality. I had failed to find a home in Europe, Language barriers. Surely now I should be having fun? Free from the commitment of security. Yet the truth was I was getting pretty miserable. I knew I would enjoy Iran a lot more if I was traveling with someone. I usually did enjoy travel more with someone else around. I longed for that now. For sure I would not be sitting here in a sulk if there was someone else here too.

For the first time I thought about chucking it in, getting a ticket to Thailand, or the Philippines and escaping my solitude. I was tired, my thighs were still on fire, and in a way very bored. I was losing interest in travelling. The thoughts of trekking in Pakistan made be shudder, I never really wanted to go to India, and Nepal seem like an age away.

I had enjoyed myself when traveling alone, no doubt. But in the 9 hours of purposeful solitude at the bus station I had met not one single traveler, and no one spoke to me that did not want my money. On this leg of the trip I had only traveled with 1 or 2 people for a couple of days, no more. I really desperately wanted to travel with someone.

6pm came, and I finally stood up as the sun began to dip low in the near cloudless sky. I began the confusion of asking where my bus might leave. And after directions from the equivalent of Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” I found the bus to Esfahan. But Iran’s cruelty continued, seat 44 was indeed at the rear of the bus, and full of boisterous male students.

I squeezed into the seat second from the left window, and was given the customary complimentary drink of juice and a packet of glow in the dark Cheese Balls. I struggled to sleep, sandwiched between two people; but as the day closed, my theory on doing nothing on a bad day came to fruition. My luck started to come back.

Some related links from this website that  you might like:

Stories: Feeling Low on the Road, in Iran

How to travel overland guides – Turkey to Iran overland

My Iran country guide

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