Friday, April 21, 2006

Night bus to Tehran

Today was supposed to be a bicycle rest day but ended out being pretty bike active.

After breaking fast on flat bread, butter, jam & a delicious salty cheese something like feta we went for another adrenaline-packed ride down
town, though being Friday traffic was nothing like that of rush hour which we'd experienced the evening before. There was a bike shop that both Hanif & Bagher used that offered free service to tourists. It seemed a bit to good to be believed. Replacements for Etienne's tires as well as new tubes were arranged as we as total tune ups for both our bikes. My bike hadn't been that clean & ran that well for quite a while.

After hanging out in the cycling shop we had another exciting ride through town to pick up a bus ticket for me & get a local Azeri specialty for lunch, Dizi. It was so good that both Etienne & I had a second portion of it, much to the amusement of the locals. It was a stew of fatty mutton with chickpeas & potatoes served in a metal jar. There was a very specific method to eating it. First the juice of the stew was drained off into a bowl into which bit sized pieces of soft flat bread had been placed. When the break soaked in juice was eaten the rest of the stew was pored into the bowl & mashed. Then the pulpy mash was eaten with more bread. It was absolutely delicious.

After that stomach stuffing exercise we headed back to Bagher's for tea & a rest then a wistlestop tour of some the sites of Tabriz then back uptown to the city park for a meeting of Tabriz's cycling community. I was beginning to find the lack of control over the schedule & the constant back & forward through heavy traffic a bit difficult to deal with. I'd hoped to make use of the opportunity of having a local phone & better Internet connectivity to talk to Freddie but the constant going too & fro prevented this happening. Having said that it was great to spend time with Hanif, Bagher & their friends. During the time they took total responsibility for us & we weren't permitted to pay for anything.

After a last race through city traffic to get some dinner I was dropped at the bus station for my night bus to Tehran. That last ride through town was really crazy. It was dark most bikes were without lights & we were cycling in heavy traffic, sometimes even going down one-way streets the wrong way. It felt like being the frog in Frogger.

I cycled 0 km

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