How Cheap??

Iranian petrol is 20 pence a litre, however foreigners have to pay double that. Still, it's nice to be able to fill up for just 8 pounds (Arabic keyboard without pound sign). Most things are much cheaper than in Europe, a nice meal is 4 quid, I've been going on a felafel search (veggie chickpea dish) in every town,but not always with much success. Most of the time I'm eating salad with plain rice. Meanwhile the carnivores I'm travelling with are all getting heartily sick of kebabs, which seems to be the only thing on the menu in every restaurant.

One of the bikes has got something wrong with its final drive and so the bike and rider are in the van for 10 days until we reach Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, where a parcel of parts is being sent out. Some fork seals are also coming- someone (not mentioning any names) hit a very large pothole at speed on a heavily loaded bike and has destroyed his front fork seals.

Our final night in Iran was at the town of Bojnoord, a typical Iranian city with pictures of martyrs lining the streets, anyone who died in the Iran/Iraq conflict is classed as a martyr and forever immortalised with their pictures hanging from lamposts and on billboards, some of them look very youthful, which is a sad reminder of how young many of the soldiers were. They no longer have fountains running red with the blood of their enemies anymore, apparently a typical Iranian custom - which is a shame as I'm sure a bit of cochineal in the local park fountain would have brightened things up a bit, the parks tend to be a bit dreary looking - but it must be hard to grow stuff when water is such a precious commodity.

We had a police escort through one town, though he was a bit slow off the mark, and by the time he (police chief) had caught up with our lead rider we had just about reached the town limits so he sat at the final roundabout with lights flashing and waving frantically at each of us as we passed.

There has been quite a festival atmosphere at times as people wave and cheer as we pass by, though the vehicles which drive right next to us to get a closer look and to say "Hello, welcome to Iran" we could do without as they're in danger of running into us. In fact the little bike acting as the outrider for the Aussies got into problems and went flying into the ditch beside the road when the ridder was too busy gazing at the bikes and not looking at where he was going.You'll be relieved to hear that both rider and passenger were up and walking afterwards though one of them had a bleeding head wound as for some reason he was carrying his helmet on his arm rather than wearing it on his head.