Our final day in Quetta was spent preparing for the 12 hour bus journey through the Taliban occupied region of Balochistan. We stumbled upon a bakery where we got a large supply of hot fresh bread. Check it out.....
The road to Iran was nothing more than a rocky dust track and we didn't get a wink of sleep. There were numerous police check points where our passport details were taken in order to track our movements along the route.
We arrived at the Iranian border at 5.30 in the morning where we exchanged our money and warmed up on some chai and chapati bread. We would have to wait till 9am for the border to open.
Took a sneaky pic outside The Iranian Border Control. Picture taking is forbidden
We met a lovely Spanish couple at the border who had converted an old Fiat van into a camper and took off on a trip of central asia. They did a fantastic job with the van.
When we got to the otherside of the border we found that the security was much tighter when it concerned tourists. We were not allowed to use camera's/recorders etc...but Brian recorded a typical conversation with a border security official...Trying to cycle in these parts would be a pretty dangerous business indeed.
We had to wait at the Iranian border for about 2 hours while they tried to organise a bodyguard for the trip to Zahedan where we would be placed on a bus to a safe haven named Kerman.
Our transportation to Zahedan
Our Army Bodyguard who fell asleep mid journey. We're in good hands!!
Brian and Paul try to catch up on some sleep. Complete with dribble!!
We were dropped off at a polcie station in Zahedan where we had to unload our bikes and cycle to the bus station. The pickup driver informed us that he couldn't drive us to the bus station for reasons unknown so we had to get an armed police escort for 10kms to the bus station. During this little cycle we passed through 4 different districts, meaning we had to be escorted by a different police unit every 2kms or so. This was driving us mad as we had to wait for 5 to 10 mins every time for the next armed escort to arrive. This waiting around perched us up like sitting ducks for anyone with intentions of kidnapping/extortion. (pretty likely outcome for tourists here). It made loads more sense for us just get the pickup to the bus station and get on a bus all in one go!!....Jobs for the boys we reckoned....and no doubt, a heafty dolllop of district beurocracy!!!...
The many escorts through the districts - complete with AK 47's
We also had an armed guard for our bikes as we organised bus tickets.
After another gruelling 8 hour bus journey which was also full of police check points, we finally arrived in Kerman. Kerman is a large and more importantly, a safe city situated well outside the notorious Balochistan region of Iran. For anyone a little anxious for our safety, you need not worry anymore, we have been informed by the Iranian police and also by fellow travellers, that the remainder of Iran is both a very safe and hospitable place. Hospitable to the point that Iranian people are oblidged to provide food and shelter to foreigners.....Sounds good to us!!!!