Baluchistan in Iran is like Mindanao in Philippines, like Chechnya in Russia and sort of a horrible bedtime story for naughty kids. They’re all terrorists and separatists. In fact, the biggest problem of Baluchistan is the police. Mustachioed and not very mustachioed men from across the country who get transferred to this godforsaken corner of Iran are just too bored to let you go. My encounter with them had its continuation the next day, when Nenad left for Mashad and I stayed one more day to cross the border next morning and finally get into Pakistan. One frustrating thing was that I didn’t really see any of Zahedan, not even the Baluchi museum, because my host was insisting that I can’t go outside, I must stay indoors because I look too foreign and will be spotted and taken to the police office again. Yes, as if these suckers didn’t have my passport already.
I woke up early on the 22nd of may, hoping to pick up the bloody document from the office and hitchhike to the border. They said no. Because I must take an armed escort. With a taxi. But I have no money. Shrug. Silence. What about hitchhiking? No, armed escort. With a taxi. But I have no friggin money! Shrug. Silence. 4 hours passed. At 10 am my embassy in Tehran woke up and I decided to play an angry biatch and scare the policemen with my emotional phone call to the authorities. The man from the consulate, was surprisingly reasonable and very nice (unlike the fat dude that we met at the previous visit to embassy), but totally useless. Ok then. I got transferred again to another police office, next to the highway leading to the border. The solution was on a plate in front of me: I stepped outside the station and started to hitchhike.
The armed guys (no mustache) got really anxious but wouldn’t give me back the passport anyway. Finally, one of them stood beside me and hitched a ride for both of us with a nice Baluchi man. ‘Baluchi yata gerin’ – I said proudly when I got into the car. The driver’s face stretched into a Cheshire cat smile and the rest of the way he kept petting me on the head and saying how cute I am. So, in this way, from one checkpoint to another, myself and the armed guy were hitching rides all the way to the border with Pakistan. I felt incredibly important. The border crossing was dull, and as soon as I stepped on the Pakistani land, I could finally take off the damn headscarf and feel myself a bit human. A man crawled out of a tent by the bus station, stretched his arms and started urinating on the ground. Then he noticed me and his sleepy eyes went up to his forehead.
The sun was still high and I got a new armed escort at the police office. He had not only mustache but a black beard too. The bus ride from Taftan to Quetta had its ups and downs (and also rights and lefts – I think my body was thrown all around the 3 dimensions of the bus). Until suddenly, at around 00:00, the checkpoint police told me that I can’t go any further. Because from this place onwards escort is not provided and it’s too dangerous to go at night. H-O-L-Y S-H-E-E-P I started getting quite hysterical after all the events of this tumultuous day. I didn’t really want to stay the night at the police station in the middle of nowhere, in the desert, accompanied by a crowd of men in uniforms. From where I come, police is the last place you would put your trust in.
But there was no other way, and to be honest, the bus full of screaming babies was not a fun rollercoaster at all. They gave me loads of milk tea and cookies, and even spared the whole little house for my privacy. This was probably the deepest baby sleep in my whole trip, and in the morning – after more tea and cookies the amazing Baluchi policemen showed me the photographs of all other tourists who stayed at the station overnight, snapped a photo of my morning face and put me on the bus to Quetta. In Quetta, a man with white beard at the train station tried to convert me to islam, my CS host was my unarmed escort and I ended up staying at the house of a local female politician and braiding Barbie’s hair with her daughter. But this is another story.