Posted in Thank you
I woke up early into my tent in Bandar Abbass and got prepared for going across the sea, to the island of Qeshm. I was thinking that it will be a walk in the park. But i was totally wrong…
When I arrived on the island, I found myself in a very tricky situation. There was a terrible wind blowing. It was actually a tropical storm and I had to protect myself. I didn’t try to find a host beforehand, because I wanted to enjoy some days alone, camping by the sea. But the reality on the island, was that I couldn’t even open my tent, as if it would be destroyed by the wind… So I had to find shelter. After wandering around by hitchhiking, I reached the small village of Suza, where I found a mosque. The entrance of the mosque, was the perfect place that could protect my tent(and me…) from the wind. I asked the Imam, if I can stay there for the night and he nodded me “yes”. So i placed myself to the mercy of Allah 😛
It was totally hilarious, cause people would come to pray all the time. Seeing me inside my tent right at the entrance, was like seeing an alien or something… I don’t blame them of course. Actually I was like an alien! In the middle of the night, the police also came to identify me and they walked away, as they saw the visa on my passport. Somehow, this day passed and the next morning was peaceful.
I woke up early to start hitchhiking around the island. The island has a unique environment, because of its position and climate. So the mainland is totally desert landscape and there are mangrove forests all around it.
Before the sunset, I arrived to my final destination, which was park Zeytun. It was a nice park next to the sea, with hundreds of other tents, restaurants and a beach on the Persian Gulf. As I was pinching my tent, I realized that I wasn’t feeling very well. It was because of hitchhiking and the A/C inside the vehicles, that gave me a cold. Bad luck for the second day in a row. Can it get any worse? Never ask this question when things are bad, cause it can… You must have noticed the lack of pictures from the island. There’s a reason for that…
The next day found me sick by the seaside, with a terrible headache. I was lying on the grass, under the sun, just 15 meters away from my tent, with my eyes closed. At some point, I headed back at my tent, to get something. I immediately noticed that it was unzipped. I looked in and came across a horrific realization. My entire backpack was missing…
Time just froze around me. After overcoming the initial shock, the first thing that came in mind was MY PASSPORT. It was into my backpack and I couldn’t find it anywhere in the tent. Sheer terror came upon me… But I had to act fast. Immediately I started asking people around if they had seen anybody near my tent. Language was a huge barrier in order to explain them the situation. On top of that, nobody had seen anything. Afterwards, I ran to the police but it was even more difficult with them… As I was trying to explain them, an Iranian guy who could speak English approached me and asked me what happened. After I told him everything, he became my translator to deal with the police. His name was Mohsen.
The police was extremely slow and only after 3 hours, they took my information and got to testify what happened. All this time, they didn’t even start searching for the thieves, but they were just being lazy. In the end, they told me that I had to wait for 4 days and then, I had to go back to the police station, so that they can give me legal papers to leave the island. I felt vulnerable and depressed. Loosing your passport while you travel, is one of the worst things that can happen to you. If not THE worst…
Mohsen was still by my side after helping me with the police and invited me to dinner, with his family. This guy helped me so much with the translation for 3 hours, he shared food with me and took me with his car to the super market, to buy food. Even in the darkest hours, you can still find beams of light, from people like that. I am totally grateful for your help Mohsen. I hope you and your family are doing well.
Except the passport, inside the backpack were clothes, my ID and driving licence, debit cards and more stuff. The only things that weren’t missing was my money, my mobile(I had them both in my pocket all the time), my tent, my book and my sleeping bag. Everything else was gone, including my camera, so that is why there are no photos on this post…
The next 2 days found me sick and depressed. I cancelled my debit cards and contacted the Greek embassy in Tehran, to report the loss of my passport. I asked them about the procedure to make a new one. They told me that I cannot make a new passport and the only thing that they can do, is to give me legal papers, that will allow me to go back to Greece… I didn’t want to return back and my flight ticket to Nepal was already booked. That shocked me, because everything was finished. The project itself is dedicated to human kindness. And I was robbed… After 6 months, Around the Good World had to return back and admit defeat.
In the meantime a lot of people learned about my story and were trying to help me, anyway they could. A restaurant owner was giving me food free of charge and was also charging my mobile, in another restaurant they were allowing me to get to the internet for free, some Ukrainian guys lent me their phone so that I could make the necessary calls, Izad from couchsurfing came and picked me up with his car and took me to his office for using his computer. So even at those times, I didn’t loose my faith in humanity!
So here I am at the park, waiting for the police to give me the papers. The second day a couchsurfer named Omid came by the park and listened to my story. He was touched by it and invited me to his house. His family was totally awesome. His mother was cooking for us every day and Omid with his brothers were trying to cheer me up.
Two more days passed like that and we were heading to the police station, to get the documents I needed, so that i can go to Tehran. Omid was driving his car, when I suddenly saw someone walking on the sidewalk, wearing my jacket…!!!!! My first reaction was literally, “OOOOOHHH SHIIIIIT”. Omid asked what happened and I was like “This guy is wearing my jacket, stop the car NOW”. He pulled over and we both got out of the car. When the thief noticed us, instantly changed direction and started running.
So we started chasing him iat the streets of Dargahan, like in the movies. But it wasn’t exactly like in the movies… I was still kinda sick and couldn’t run very fast, Omid is a football player with great stamina but he was wearing flip-flops which made him slower as usual and the thief was a junkie, so he could not run fast either. It was probably the most hilarious chase ever! While Omid was running, he was shouting “He is a thief, catch him…”. After 500 meters the thief was tired and there was also a guard from a shopping mall with a gun who heard Omid, that made him stop… We arrived at the spot after some seconds and immediately called the police. The police arrived after some time and all of us together, went to the police station.
At the police station, things got more surrealistic… The thieves(they were 2), brought a friend of theirs to defend them. So the three of them together, started shouting to the police men(wtf), in order to confuse them. One of the police men, was playing Clash of Clans on his mobile, with his feet on the table(!). While me and Omid were trying to get back my stuff. The situation was totally ridiculous and didn’t make any sense. At least the officer in charge was a nice guy and was trying to sort things out. After almost two hours of shouting, surrealism, stress and negotiations, I managed to get back my passport, my backpack, my camera and almost everything else! The only things that I could not find, probably because they threw them away, were my Greek ID card, my driving licence and some very few clothes, but it didn’t bother me.
I had my passport in my hands and I could continue travelling! This was the only thing that mattered to me, so i was fully happy 😀 I was also extremely lucky to find the thief in the street, just by accident… Can’t be any luckier I guess.
I feel blessed for all the things I experienced in Qeshm island. I went from total depression to the ultimate joy and it’s impossible to put into words the emotions that I felt all these days. Even though I was robbed, I have no bad feelings for Iran or Iranian people. It was them who actually gave me food when they learned my story, who helped me with translations, with computers and opened their houses for me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have my passport now and I would be back to Greece… So i continue to have faith to people and their kindness, even stronger now. I want to thank everyone who helped me on the island to continue travelling! They were Mohsen and his family, the two restaurant owners, the two Polish and the two Ukranian guys, Izad and all the others that gave me their help. But of course, the one I obviously have to thank more than everybody else, is Omid.
I don’t think I can thank you enough, for your hospitality and for everything else you did for me. When we were chasing the thief, you were running even faster than me and shouting at the same time 😛 You are an amazing human and I am honored to have met you. Of course thanks to all your amazing family, for the hospitality you provided me! Man, a truly huge THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
After this epic adventure in the Persian Gulf, I packed my staff and took the boat back to Bandar Abbass.
To Be Continued…