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Old 05-22-2009, 05:29 AM   #75
Boarder06 OP
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Cambridge, MA
Oddometer: 238
Takht-e-Soleyman to Bijar

The German couple from last night recommended stopping at the Karaftu Caves. According to them a nice secluded spot where I could camp. Iím always weary of caves. They usually turn out to be the biggest tourist traps of any given country, with Lebanon winning the first price in that competition. However, with a firsthand recommendation I decide to go anyway. I stop at an Internet Cafe in Tekab and then make my way on a rapidly deteriorating road.

After a few wrong turns I finally find the right road to the caves and when I come around the last bend and see the parking lot I let out a small curse. It is jam packed with every kind of vehicle imaginable. So much for secluded. I cruise around on the nasty flagstone parking lot to find a spot and before I even come to a complete stop a guy comes running up to me and practically rips my hand of the handlebar to shake it. So, I hit the deck and Iím immediately surrounded by dozens of people. At least there are plenty of hands to pick up the bike. A quick survey reveals that there is no damage to the bike but the right luggage box has a nasty dent at the front corner. Waterproof no more. Thatís OK, I think. It wonít rain in Iran. I wait for the crowd to disperse and start climbing up to the caves, which frankly donít seem impressive to me at all.

Once Iím up I see a bunch of people gathering around my bike again, touching everything. I make my way down quickly and leave as fast as I can. Lesson learned. Never go to a ďsecluded spotĒ on a Friday!
I have to backtrack to Tekab and press on to Bijar to get some gas, where I find the friendly 22 year old Mohsen who guides me to the gas station in his car. While I get gas he asks me what my plan is. I say that I donít know and I just want to grab some food and figure it out later. He guides me to a couple of restaurants in town, which are closed. Once we find one thatís open he orders some food for me and drives his mom, who has been sitting in the car the whole time, home. He returns to the restaurant and while Iím eating my food it starts to rain. So much for ďno rain in IranĒ. I ask Mohsen if there is a hotel in town and as luck would have it there is one right above the restaurant. Very basic but also very cheap. We move the bike into the empty shop next door and all is well.

I just settle into my room, take a shower, walk around town a bit and later check my email at the internet cafe before going to bed.
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