Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Iran - the last lap

After a few unexpected 'detours' in the last couple of days, Mark has now completed the last lap of his journey through the amazing country that is Iran and has crossed the border into Pakistan.
Earlier today he passed through Zahedan, the last city in Iran before the border...The image above shows a 'meeting' of countries - Iran to the west, Afghanistan to the north east and Pakistan to the south east. The nature of that meeting is interesting - why would national borders be drawn in such a way? It isn't at all clear until you consult an atlas and find that the 'hub' of the frontiers is on the highest mountain in the area and so is a logical choice despite appearances.

Marks' journey through Iran has taught me an immense amount about the geography of a country I knew little about just two and a half weeks ago but it has taught me something else - that the mental maps we hold in our heads need to be challenged. I may not yet be ready to travel in the borderlands of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan but I'd love to go there and I doubt if I would have said that a few weeks ago.

So what is this frontierland of Iran like? Well, maybe it's time to get out of Google's sky and have a look. Here are a few images of Zahedan which I have gleaned from Flickr...

Misty early morning

...and this is a slum area in the north east of the city occupied by Afghan immigrants.

And here the face of 'a man from Zahedan'....

...and an Afghan shoemender working on the street of Zahedan.

Finally, a bit of trawling produced a short video of the road between Bam and Zahedan which Mark cycled along either yesterday or today. The reports of the buffeting winds are clearly not exaggerated!

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