Got to the bus terminal and rushed to a ticket counter, a tall old man started talking in Farsi and made us follow him outside the station. He asked for money but we didn’t know for what, a few buses were parked near us but they had no line, no driver and the doors were closed.
We got back inside at the counter, the man was following us and pointing to the opposite direction so I kept saying “ticket ticket I want a ticket”. Back to the ticket counter everyone seemed entertained by the situation, we paid 400.000 IRR and got reassured that the bus was “now”. We are finally holding a ticket but still don’t know where to go and we are told to follow the man (again!)maybe he is the driver and not a beggar? Where is the bus where is the bus we keep asking. He replies in farsi and keeps walking across this big parking lot and towards the motorway.
And then it happens: he sends a whistle into the wind and a bus appears from the horizon of the traffic of the big road. We need to hurry up, the bus is stopping just for us, coming from Godknowswhere, it is almost full, no tourist just our 2 white faces. The old odd man says something to the seated crowd and we hear a laugh. It’s ok if they are making fun of us (but for what?) as long as we are driving to Isfahan!
So yeah, no matter how much you travel and how many things you have seen, there is always this situation where you are completely lost in translation (doesn’t need to be in Japan every time, Middle East works too) and your brain appeals to what remembers and knows already. It connects memories and feelings and trips and stories and images and sends you warnings – for no reason, most of the times.
Rewriting the dialogue with subs would have looked like this one:
me: Hi, do you sell ticket to Isfahan?
counter people: yes of course.
old odd man: there is one bus that has just left follow me
me: ok I follow you
old odd man: ok so it’s 400.000 Rials
me: why do I have to pay you where is the bus?
old odd man: you have to pay me, there is no time for the ticket, we need to rush to the edge of the road to stop the bus.
me(hysterical): where is the bus? where are we going? ticket ticket I want a ticket
counter people: here is your ticket
old odd man: I told her the bus is gonna pass by any second now and they will miss it but she wanted a ticket
counter people: follow the man
me: oooh I see you are the driver
old odd man: I am not the driver but I make a living stopping running bus when they are not full, I will show you how. …
bus door opens…
old odd man: here is two kids that need to go to Isfahan. They drove me crazy, apparently you dont run over the bus parking lot and into the street to stop a running bus in Europe.
bus crowd: hahaha allah bless europeans!
The man in front of us has the eyes of those McCurry portraits of old afghans with these deep deep glance. It is hard to not believe that he must be the nicest of the grandpas! He wants to start a conversation but he only speaks farsi.
What we think we know about him: -he is arab-iraqi -he wants to have us for dinner -he wants to give us the book he is reading (in farsi) that in not the Quran but something religious anyways.
Once in Isfahan the mood is low, the sky is Berlin-grey, the traffic hostile and the city way bigger than peaceful Yadz (we had to try 3 hotels before finding a room).
We seek comfort in the traditional teahouse of the stunning Abassi Hotel where I have a sweet that has a taste I never tried before and I am happy again, thewow moment of the day. A couple across from our table come to meet us and invite us to their wedding this friday, just like that. She is German, he is Iranian, they seem nice but we’ll be heading to Kashan on friday…