1st February - Mehriz to Anar - distance 119km - ascent 9m - av speed 23.6km/h - current position 30,50N 55,10E.
Spending a night in a kebab house wasn't such a good idea after all. In a desperate attempt to get an early night we were all in our bags by 11pm but the kebab shop owners had different ideas and proceeded to shout, sing, and hold farting competitions in celebration of our presence until well past one in the morning. Sarah not 'being amused' had to be restrained from going down to 'sort them out'. Lucky for them! We thought revenge would be sweet first thing as most Iranians are not early risers. However they were at it again before 6am. Feeling a little the worse for wear we hit the road in glorious sunshine and headed out into the desert. Our steady progress was short lived as a ferocious cross wind hit us and slowed our progress to about 15km/h at times. There are only two solutions in this situation - go slow and accept it will be a long tedious day or look for a 'truck surf' to aid the progress. Normally this is the domain of Nic and Jamie but today a lorry going at a steady 50km/h appeared right on cue. After a few seconds of manic pedalling I was in the slip stream and my average speed increased three fold. Jamie did his best to hitch a ride but with a desperate cry of "I can't keep up....!" he was gone. Once again youth gives way to experience in these situations!!
An early lunch stop of Ro's delicious rice salad allowed the wind to subside a little and the afternoon brought better conditions. Pauline sped off feeling very liberated before realising she had left her rucsac at the previous stop. This was nothing to Jamie's predicament of being caught short without any toilet paper in the middle of the desert. How he coped we have no idea but I'm sure he can reveal more in his blog tomorrow. A small town en route presented the chance to see a spectacular new mosque being built.Once we were through the 80km mark the wind did an 'about turn' and we had to change our tune as it became our best friend again, pushing us all the way into the small town of Anar, our stop for the night. This time there was no desperate search for a bed with Ro already having located a small hotel on the outskirts of town. Jamie and Nic made a quick foray into town to change some dollars but ended up joining an 'English evening class' of fourteen year old girls. They were gone for some time......