So back to the ongoing story of the truck and the spare parts. On Tuesday in Tehran the FEDEX website was reporting that the 2 parcels were in Dubai. That was good news, the German end of this saga had been completed, the parts were obtained, packed, shipped and had arrived at their first destination. So as we got on the bus Tuesday 15th evening to return to Shiraz I was feeling optomistic. All we had to do now was to get the parts from Dubai to Shiraz. That next step was going to depend on a pair of local entrepeneurs called Mr H1 (in Shiraz) and Mr H2 in Dubai.
That optimism started to erode during Wednesday 16th as back in our Shiraz hotel we discovered that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were Islamic holidays and that there was likely to be no progress until Saturday 19th.
We tried many times during those holidays to contact either of the Mr H1 or Mr H2 but with no success. I discovered from the FEDEX website that the Dubai FEDEX depot worked 24/7 but apparently the Mr H's did not. A little progress was made by FEDEX as on Wednesday the status of the shipment changed from "at depot" to "ready for pickup".
Saturday 19th arrived and we eventually made contact with the Mr H2 in Dubai, he had contacted FEDEX and discovered that some customs duty was owing. If we could send him the money he would pay the customs and get the parcels. So how do we send money from Shiraz to Dubai?
Fortunately it was a lot easier than sending money from US or Australia. Mr H our Shiraz guide took me to a local curreny exchange were we paid the required sum in US dollars and got a receipt with a transaction number. Mr H2 (the one in Dubai) went to an affiliated office in Dubai, quoted the receipt number and retrieved the paid sum in the currency of th United Arab Emirates. What an effecient system.
Later in the day we heard from Mr H2 in Dubai that he had picked up the parcels and the FEDEX website confirmed pickup. That was great.
We need to take an aside here to bring up another couple of issues.
So our 30 day tourist visas for Iran are coming to an end. Our last permited day in Iran is Wednesday 23rd and as you can see from the story above we will certainly not have the spare parts by then and even more certainly the truck will not be repaired by then, and we still have 2500 km to drive to the border.
So this morning Mr H (our Shiraz guide) took us to the local police station to extend our visas. The officer simply looked at our passports and visas and said "come back when you have only 2-3 days left". We will try again Monday when we have only 2 or 3 days left depending on how one counts them.
When we entered Iran the guide (Hossein R) that helped us enter on a Temporary Carnet told us that we would only get a 7 days permit for the truck but that we could pay for the extra days when we were exiting the country. Ok, that sounded workable.
Well he has been calling me for the past week asking how the truck repairs are going and what our plans are. On Saturday evening I finally got to the bottom of these questions.
It appears that the customs department has noticed that our truck has now been in the country over 20 days on a 7 day permit and they are wanting to know what's the story. Moreover they are suspicious that the "broken down needs spare parts" story is not true and they are demanding Hossein R prove we have not sold the truck. The reason that customs is calling Hossein R, and that he is so keen to get customs off his back, is that somehow or other his name is associated with the temmporary carnet.
Nina and I suspect that the customs office has noticed that the other 20 foreign vehicles that entered Iran at the same time that we did have now departed but that our vehicle has not.
The upshot of all of this is that Hossein R (the Carnet guide) is going to come to Shiraz to talk to the local customs office and demonstrate that the truck has not been sold and is indeed waiting for spare parts.
With the extra pressure of visas and truck permit piling on we are keen to get the parts to Shiraz as fast as possible. Stay tuned for the next episode - sounds like a soap opera doesn't it.
You might have noticed this story is a bit hard to tell or at least follow because there are four names that start with H. Hossein, the guide that helped us cross the border, Mr H or guide in Shiraz, and and Mr H1 and Mr H2 that are helping bring the parts the last leg.
Even with all the above going on Nina is still more than a bit bored, so today she decided to add some novelty to her day be getting a hair do at a local salon.
She found the general location of a "good" salon from one of the hotel receptionists and on Saturday morning while returning form the visa police Mr H (the Shiraz guide) took us to that place and Nina made an apointment for later in the morning.
Just before the apointment time Nina arranged with reception for a taxi to take her to the salon. Two and one half hours later she returned red faced and with wisps of blonde hair poking out from under her head scarf
In an excited voice she told me about the streaking process, negotiating the price, selecting the color, applying the aluminium foil that is used to make the streaks. She was surprised by the fact that her hair was blown dry three times during the process, that the dye was allowed to dry without one of those hair heaters, and that a separate "setting chemical" was put on her hair after the dye to "set it".
So what about the red-face. Well she saw a salon employee using an unfamiliar process to remove clients facial hair and decided to give it a go. As best I could understand a salon employee uses lengths of string like dental floss in a twisting motion to pull out the hairs. It certainly works, Nina's face was definitely very smooth but also very red. The red had faded away by evening.