We started the morning not really knowing what the day would bring.
We tried in vain to contact the Indian Embassy to check on the progress of our Visa applications but couldn’t get through by phone with no response to our emails. We decided to ring Perth Embassy to ask for assistance and this was given…but the outcome, via email later in the day, had us no further forward as Tehran just said that they had not heard back from New Delhi and again offered the option to fly the bike…..they just don’t get it! With my operation only yesterday Vince asked if it was possible to save us the 2000km return trip back to Tehran (should the answer be a Yes) and collect the visas in Zahedan but this was denied. If they are going to issue the visas it will be via Tehran.
We also knew that Reza would be in contact with the Pathology Lab and try to get some results today but we were not sure when. He popped by at breakfast to let us know that he would contact them at 9.00am when they opened. He then got back us to let us know that they had told him to call after 2.00pm. So we decided to go for a bit of a walk around the local area whilst we waited…..I think the waiting is always the hardest and most stressful part.
It was very hot, so we became “shade seekers”, hunting out any snippet of shade we could find as we walked. We met some men who had soft serve ice creams and we asked where they got them from…..sign language indicated go ahead then turn left. Sure enough we found a shop with ice cream, so we bought a couple and sat in the shade to eat them…delicious, and they did cool us down.
We walked the length up the street and crossed the road at the end, where we found the fruit shop that had helped us out with directions the day we arrived. We proceeded to buy 3 bananas and 6 peaches…..the man standing next to Vince insisted on paying for our fruit as a welcome gift to Iran. Vince tried to refuse politely, but the man was having none of it and not content with that, he then proceeded to give us some of the pistashio nuts he had already bought as well.
We walked back up the road, on the opposite side this time, and came across another grocer selling watermelon. I picked one out and took it to be weighed…but the man just shook his head and put it to the side and went to go and pick a better one for me by tapping and listening to each melon in turn until he found one that met the grade…apparently my watermelon selections skills are remedial and could do with some work….. it cost us about A$1. Whilst this was going on an older man had struck up a conversation with Vince and was happy to welcome us to Iran.
As we continued our walk back we came across a young girl with her father sitting on a motorbike. I asked if we could take a picture by holding up my camera and asking in English, and her father nodded. The lighting was difficult as it was around 11.00am and the sun was scorching but she was in the shade.
A little further on in our walk we came across a police motorbike….so Vince had to get me to take a picture or two, or three, or four.
Back at our hotel we rested for the afternoon in our air-conditioned room. 2.00pm came and went with no word from Reza. We had a late lunch, around 5.00pm, in the hotel caravanessi and waited for news. Reza came and told us that the results were still not in but maybe tonight. In the meantime we met an Aussie couple travelling overland in their 4×4 from Holland to Australia. Emil and Claire (This Life Outside – Global Adventure) came and joined us sitting on the day beds in the caravanessi, and we all shared tales of our adventures and life……we will try to catch up with them to travel through Pakistan (safety in numbers)…..if we ever get our indian visas. They shared some Dutch peanut butter with us and we shared our watermelon…..really yummy and refreshing….can I pick watermelons or what?
Around 8.30pm Reza came and told us that the Lab had called, the results were in but we needed to get there before they close at 9.00pm. Thursday and Friday are the weekend in Shiraz, so if we missed it we would not get the results until Saturday. We abruptly excused ourselves from our new friends and caught a taxi….because the traffic is so heavy in the evenings and taxis have their own lane so it would be faster. The traffic was absolutely manic and slow, even in the taxi fast lane. I nervously watched as time ticked by….wondering if we would make it in time….we got there just on 9.00pm and Reza and I dashed up the two flights of stairs, whilst Vince paid the driver (80,000IRR). The door was shut and initially there was no answer to the bell or door knocks. Eventually the door opened and three girls went to walk out….we were too late….or so I thought. Reza spoke to one of them and before we knew it we were all walking back inside and lights were getting turned on……I was handed an envelope and opened it up…..I looked at the paper in my hand and began to read the results…….no evidence of malignancy…….what a relief! I thanked the girl at the counter….hugged Reza and Vince in public…..I don’t care about the rules….I was just so relieved! We caught a taxi back to the hotel (50,000IRR) and the 3 of us had dinner. Reza’s wife called whilst we were eating and her first question was about my results….she and her daughter have been praying hard for me….as have my family back in Australia. I’m touched that there has been a lot of interest in my welfare here at the hotel, including the local taxi driver, the waiter, Uppersia staff, and the receptionist…..Iranians are very kind and caring.
I shall sleep well tonight!