Getting arrested or detained was certainly on the top of my to-do list in Iran. Nenad and I were constantly wondering who’d be the first to hang out with the police: me because of inappropriate clothing or him because of inadequate behavior. Finally, the cause of everything was a Polish dude, of course. We met Grzegorsz at Balal’s place in Yazd, and then hitched a ride to Shiraz together.
Strolling along the Zand boulevard, I noticed a pretty wall with a massive graffiti, and decided that a photo would be just amazing. After I zipped my camera back into the bag, Nenad decided to take another shot with the epic wall. A moustached man came out of nowhere, accompanied by a soldier guy, and started moving his hands very expressively. Hypnotized by the magical gestures, we followed him into The Office of Thought Police. Inside the office, another soldier was sitting at the desk which had no computer, no pictures – just papers and a telephone that rang from time to time and reminded the soldier to stop spitting at the ceiling and come back to reality. The posters on the walls depicted a colourful crowd of people holding the signs ‘Down with USA’ and ‘Down with Israel’. We were in the sea of pure propaganda awesomeness.
Half an hour later, when Greg was pretty much asleep, we were offered cookies and juice. Half an hour more – and another man with funny moustache came along and started speaking English. ‘One by one!’ – commanded he, and thus we obeyed and one-by-one attended the exciting interrogation. The questions were ranging from ‘What do your parents do?’ to ‘Are you hungry?’ (read: ‘What’s your country?’) We left half an hour later, with cookies, juice, and an address of a cheap hotel where we could stay (hitchhiking stories assured them that we’re incredibly poor). And advice to keep our eyes on ‘No photography’ signs next time. I kept the photo though – they never noticed that I was the one to take that picture first.
Our next encounter with all stuff illegal in Iran was in the awesome land of Baluchistan, where tourists are in danger of kidnapping and all other scary shit. ‘Police is the main problem of Zahedan, – said our CS host. – They waste your time and say that it’s for your own safety. But don’t be surprised if they stop you on the street and make you pay for a hotel’. Apparently, my extremely bright clothes made me look more touristy than ever, and the guys in the police car (no moustache this time) got us pretty soon. To make the boring story short, I will just point out the highlights of this adventure.
First of all, they had no clue what to do with two hitchhikers who have no money left till Pakistan and cannot pay for the hotel. Secondly, they all were extremely bored and gathered in the yard of the police station to have a chat about us. While driving us to the local police office of the district where our host lived (for registration), the driver almost got hit by a car that was crossing from the main road. When asked why he was driving so slowly, he replied that the tires are not good and might cause a crash. After that. the other police guy apologized for the delay: ‘We would’ve taken you there sooner but two cars got stolen…’ WHAT? No, not police cars, some other cars, and the police went to the location to sort it out.
‘When you go to Russia, please slap mr. Putin in the face for me, – said Mr. Policeman. – And I will do the same for Ahmadinejad’. Yessir!
We left the office one hour later, with blue index fingers. Because their fingerprint technology is not that advanced. And because blue finger makes us feel special.