Wednesday 14 October: Now in Tabriz, Iran. Crossing land borders is always stressful - heat, hassle, guarding your gear, changing money, new strange currency, waiting in crowded queues . . . It should take 3-4 hours to get through to Iran but I was fast-tracked through in 30 minutes.
Why - because the fingerprint office is on the Iranian side! Apparently it's in response to the Americans fingerprinting Iranian nationals entering the US. From Maku, near the border took an old mahmooly 'normal' Mercedes bone-shaker bus (27th mode of transport) to Trabiz.
In the evening drank lots of tea with some students who asked very blunt questions, and some difficult ones to answer: When did you first have a girlfriend, how much is a cup of tea in London, how old is Buckingham Palace, what is your salary, why would you marry a woman who has been with another man, why do you think few tourists now come to Iran - no bars or beer with alcohol - I steered clear of political answers.
Thursday 15: Morning tea with the charming Mansur Khan, who runs the tourist office. He pointed me in the direction of , Rahmama Dairy (signed in Farsi only), a good traditional breakfast cafe - freshly baked sweet yellow bread with clotted cream and comb honey - unforgettably delicious and only 12,000 rials (about 80p).
Savari shared taxi (28th mode) to disappointing troglodyte village of Kandovan followed by a dinner of dizi (meat and bean soup and stew) in the refurbished 19th century Nober Bathouse, now the delightful Shahriar Restaurant and teahouse.
I do have a good feeling about Iran and think I'll like it here but I'm getting more nervous about Pakistan - may get a ferry from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Sharjah in UAE and fly Air Arabia (Arab equivalent Easy Jet) to Delhi and miss out Pakistan altogether.
Photos of Tabriz.