November 25, 2008 GMT
No.16. Iran. Persian Gulf to Pakistan.

After spending a night in a dreary hostel - as 'recommended' by the Kangan police - I'd headed south, sparkling waters on my right, smoking refineries on my left. Bemused police checked my progress at regular intervals until I arrived on the outskirts of Khamir.

A dual carriageway took me into the centre of town. An uninviting fly blown place of what appeared to be one storey concrete buildings with shops spilling out onto the streets. I pulled up and a man stepped from the shadows towards me....


What follows appeared in the Teheran papers.


'' BRITISH BIKER TAKEN HOSTAGE IN THE PERSIAN GULF"
"Simon Roberts of Manchester United, near London, England is recovering from a terrifying ordeal. While travelling the coast of our wonderous Persian Gulf, Mr Roberts was accosted in Khamir by members of the HAAC. (Hospitality at all Costs).

Arriving in Khamir, about 100kms from Bandar-e Abbas as darkness fell, Mr Roberts was approached by a local.'Mr Simon', as he was called, asked where he might find a hotel. 'No Hotel in Khamir' was the response. ' Please - you can stay with me at my house'.

From that moment on Mr Simon underwent relentless hospitality in the form of food and drinks and entertainment.'I thought I'd never get away' said Mr Simon.

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Click here to see the full story

It was only after four days was Mr Simon able to negotiate his release. The ransom price agreed upon was over 30 caricatures of Mr Abdoul's close friends and relatives including one of his neighbour's dog.

'Mr Simon, now recovering in Bam, said he was looking forward to moving on to Pakistan - for some peace and quiet'.............."

Click on MORE below for tales of dancing girls and palm lined islands..


'Hello. How are you?'
Ah, the usual four words of English. 'Fine, thankyou...'
'Are you looking for somewher to stay?'
Much better. Abdoul spoke excellent English and once again I was humbled by a local's linguistic skills.

'Yes. I am. Do you know of a Hotel?'
'No Hotel but you can stay with my family...'

I followed him as he ran down sandy lanes between whitewashed walls. We stopped at a metal doorway in a high wall, and he ushered me in to a simple inner courtyard. This was to be my home for the next few days.

That evening, as we ate with his friends, sitting (painfully) cross-legged on rugs, a boat trip was planned. {TIP. Heading for the Middle East? Spend two months prior to your trip sat on the floor. It WILL pay dividends and reduce your Post-trip Chiropracter's bill}. They knew of an island where we could camp.
'We take supplies and catch fish...Grill them later..'
I'd planned to move on but this sounded like the perfect tonic for a weary biker. Palm tree lined white sands...Beach bar...Dancing girls. Oh, how wrong can you be.... The cartoon says it all.


Nevertheless, it was a truly unique experience and I was overwhelmed by their hospitality. The only way I managed to repay them was with caricatures - of the whole family, their friends and their friends' friends. Great laugh though.

From Khamir I rode through Bandar-e-Abbas, and on, North West, to Bam staying at Akbar's Hotel which was slowly being rebuilt after a devastating earthquake. An abandoned Yamaha was all that remained to mark a biker who'd lost his life there. A sobering sight that stayed with me all the way to Zahedan and the desert road to Pakistan where things were going to take a turn for the worse.........

Posted by Simon Roberts at November 25, 2008 01:29 PM GMT
 


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