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Lighting out for the territory nce more in the Middle East. The more I travel the more I want to travel and the longer that I am out of England the happier I am. At present in Iraq and having a wonderful time. really fallen in love with the country and the people. Very glad I came and

Mon 21st Oct - Bam

IRAN | Tuesday, 21 October 2008 | Views [1225]

It is eleven o'clock in Akbar's guesthouse in Bam, poor devastated Bam. Today I was the only tourist in town - they lost their great attraction, the Arg e Bam, the adobe citadel, in the 2003 earthquake and now it is just a resting place on the long trek to Pakistan.

The guesthouse collapsed in the earthquake - everywhere collapsed - and three people died here. Akbar has been rebuilding ever since.

Last night I sat with Andy, English cyclist and Akbar, retired professor of Persian poetry and English literature in Shiraz. Crickets chirped, a lizard appeared on the wall, we sat on daybeds under a tin roof, reciting Hafez in Farsi (Akbar) and Omar Khayyam in English(me). A perfect moment. Tonight under the same roof, we sat and watched Homay play classical Persian music on a laptop.

In Kerman I lost a filling. Akbar, kindest of men, took me to his own dentist, a whitehaired old man unnervingly reminiscent of Olivier in Marathon Man. Not the pampering chairside manner we get in England but he did a sound job with the same equpment my father had in the 60s. I asked Akbar to ask him what the filling was made from as I need to let my own dentist know when I get home. The dentist listened, turned a pitying look on me and said, "Ah- mah gahm." So that's all right. He asked me if it was true that in England they can implant a tooth. I said it sounded like the sort of thing dentists in the UK do. 18 euros, bless him. Nice having my own dentist chap in Bam.

Long, long walk to the bank. Got lost again. 40 ish degrees. Often had to walk in the road as  all Bam is a building site. Shops line the road and it takes a while before you notice they are in containers, like shipping containers? Much kerbside selling, chickens in little plastic storage crates, one tehthered to the top as advertising. they seemed cheerful enough for chickens.

Sat in the shade with water and a banana from the banana man. Little Pakistani beggar girl. Changed money at Bank Sepah, brand new building, very smart and aircon and immediately outside, broken pavements and someone squatting next to a tray of shoepolish and laces. Enterprise.

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