10 March 2017

Impressions and Images of Iran: Heading to the Desert via Kerman

After Yazd, there was a fork in the road. I either could go southwest onward to Shiraz, or southeast onward to Kerman. Most people I met were heading to Shiraz, as after all, the tourist trail covering the central cities in Iran included Shiraz. But I wanted to attempt something more off-the-beaten-path. So I inquired for bus schedules, and learned that there was a bus leaving for Kerman early in the morning. So I planned to take that, hoping that there would be tickets still available. If so, we're going to frontier territory.

Southeastern Iran is perhaps the most "dangerous" area of the country. That said, I knew what I was doing, and therefore I traveled safe. Before heading to the southeast, I asked the locals working in my guesthouse in Yazd whether it was safe to go onward to that direction. They said that it was safe, and as long as I don't go beyond Zahedan and to the Pakistani border, it should be fine. Beyond that, one is recommended to have a police escort. I wanted to go to Bam, and that was comfortably away from the problem areas.

I headed to the bus station in Yazd, and got a ticket for Kerman. Depending on what time we arrived in Kerman, I wanted to attempt if I could get another ticket for a bus from Kerman to Bam. However, when I arrived in Kerman, the next bus for Bam was departing late afternoon, and since I didn't want to arrive in a city I didn't know at night, I just opted to stay in Kerman. That turned out to be a good move.

I found a hotel that had space for me, and this hotel was also brilliant in arranging my day trips to Bam for the day after. So I used Kerman as a base to explore the southeastern part of the country. I must say that this region is rather different, with plenty of Baluchis, a south Asian ethnic group. When I went to the bazaar, there were plenty of them, all wearing shalwar kameez. I sometimes thought that I was already in Pakistan and not in Iran. It was definitely a different social make-up.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of street scenes. Iran is a little sensitive when it comes to public photography, and if you are taking a photo of something that isn't obviously photogenic (like something that is not a tourist attraction), then people start to worry. So I played it safe and didn't take much street photos.

That said, the bazaar was an interesting experience. Given the different social make-up, it definitely felt like I was in a different country and perhaps century.

2 comments:

  1. As tempting as it must have been to take pictures, you probably made the right move. Experienced travelers know how to read a situation and a place :-)

    "I sometimes thought that I was already in Pakistan and not in Iran. It was definitely a different social make-up." I love these kinds of observations! Again, first-hand from an experienced traveler.

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    1. Zhu,

      If I were better in reading people, then I probably would have. Or if I knew the culture better. But I'd rather blend in than stick out, and so I opted to observe quietly than just obliviously take photos of things.

      Then again, street photography isn't my thing, and I guess I prefer just being there in the moment than trying to capture the moment.

      That said, I do enjoy the photos of the streets and the neighborhoods you always take in your trips!

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