The engine problems kept worrying us for most of last evening. We could have the engine checked in Yazd or try to cross the desert to Shiraz, hoping the problem would solve itself. As temperatures easily rise over 40 degrees in the desert and with the chance of getting stuck there made us decide to have the car checked in the morning.
The guy we gave some tips for his new guesthouse offered to bring us to a VW specialist and act as translator .We took his offer immediately and drove to the garage. There, the owner listened to our story and immediately knew what the problem was. The fuel pomp was missing a little pin causing all the problems. He had a new fuel pomp in stock but offered to repair the original one. We asked to install the new one taking no risk and repair the current pomp and bring it as a spare part. Within half an hour the pomp was changed and we started the engine. The mechanics immediately noticed the rattling sound the fan was making. The youngest mechanic started grabbing behind the fan house and found a piece of paper. The noise disappeared as soon as he got rid of the paper. We were happy to have all problems solved which such an ease. Costs of this all; 20 dollars! (including a new fuel pomp!)
Relieved and very happy we headed into the hot desert towards Shiraz and the magnificent ancient Persepolis not knowing in what bizarre situation we would end up.
Almost everybody in Iran drives a white Iranian build paykan car, also the guys who passed us about 200 kilometers before Shiraz. They passed us at high speed and had a curious look at us, as everybody else has here in Iran. Then they slowed down and we passed them. We have encountered this many times in Iran. The men do so to have a close look at Elles and the car.
What happened the next hour we still can’t believe. The guys, apparently on their way to Shiraz as well, were bored and decided to piss off everyone who came close. They passed us again but this time they tried to push us of the road!! Some third sense had warned Michel and a quick brake avoided an ugly situation. Then, right in front of us they passed a motorcycle which they tried to hit in the face because the motorcycle was fuming a bit. We could not believe our eyes.
Then they started to slow down again and we passed them again, this time wondering what they were up to. And yes, as soon as we were beside them they hit the gas and passed us on the right hand site making us have to brake again to get behind them. At this time we were in furious anger. We knew they were thinking of other jokes and yes.. another one came up. They started to slow down till they were driving 60 kilometres and hour. As we did not want to get into another nasty situation we decided not to go for it and stay behind them. We had enough time on our hands (several months) and laughed.
A trucker, who was behind us, signaled to us that he understood our situation and we let him pass by. Then the wanted to pass them but they hit the gas again and did not let the truck pass and kept driving next to him, even when the upcoming traffic was hitting the dirt on the side of the road. It was awful and then they slowed down and let the truck pass by. This was shit, coz then they were in front of us again.
They started throwing papers out of the car to annoy us but we did not react. Well not to them coz our tolerance level was down to about zero. They tried several other jokes on us and were endangering other drivers the whole time, even b driving on the other side of the road. We were fuming with anger and fortunately saw a police patrol standing besides the road. We stopped and the policeman came over. “White paykan, very dangerous, not good” and we pointed at them as they were speeding away. We did not have to say more as the policeman as they ran to their car for a chase. It became a nasty chase where the policemen nearly got of the road when they passed a truck. A couple of kilometers down the road they got them and we were stopped as well. The guys were asked for their papers but walked to us and pointed at our speeding meter. Michel, who was steaming at this time pointed out to the police that they tried to push us of the road and the made a ‘you are extremely insane’ gesture to the guys. Elles backed the whole thing up with noooo good, very dangerous! And that was enough for the policemen. We were asked to drive on and the guys started begging for mercy to the policemen.
To be honest.. we felt horrible and were close to shaking. We never asked for a situation like this and didn’t want to get in trouble with the police and all. We were angry but also relieved at the same time as those guys were close at creating a serious accident in which we did not want to get involved. How can people be so insane, we kept thinking ourselves.
We hoped for an easy drive into Shiraz as we had zero tolerance. Then a men with his family (6 others in the car!) started driving next to us at 90k an hour shouting ‘where are you from? In the meantime he was swerving from left to right endangering his whole family!! We shouted Holland to get rid of him as this is enough information for most of the people who ask. But this guy started to drive in front of us so his family could have a look at the car from the backseat. Then he came up with another question and believe it or not.. he braked hard making us brake hard as well, avoiding an accident. We passed him and were shocked… ‘How duju like Iran’….he shouted!! We were swearing out loud by this time and didn’t answer but hit the gas. A minute or so later he passed pushing his horn very long…. We were still swearing at this stage.
We drove into Shiraz and were followed for a while by three kids on one motorbike. They noticed straight away that we were not in the mood for a chat but kept driving dangerously close to the car. Luckily we did not hit them on one of the roundabouts. As we drove into the centre we had reached zero tolerance.
We had heard this would happen before from other overlanders but had always thought we would not be the ones that would hang out the car to shout at some stupid idiot. But we did… unfortunately… ‘Are you insane’ were words we used to people jumping in front of the car with kids in their arms or men trying to cross the highway that runs round the centre. And as they could not understand us, they all started waving and shouting; ‘Where are you from??’
We were so happy to finally get to a place to stay the night… and were even happier not to have become part of an accident today….
The funniest thing that all Iranians tell us; Yes..Iranians can’t drive… very dangerous…they should not drive. Yeah, we know!!!