It was uncharacteristically cold and raining on the way. We randomly stopped at an oto-lastic* guy simply looking for a toilet for Helen to put her fleece on (lest the locals be taken aback by the sight of a woman wearing a t-shirt). What we did not expect was to be taken in for tea and biscuits along with home grown pistachios. An electric heater was dragged out and put in front of us and they offered for us to stay. We reluctantly left thinking we would get to Esfahan that day although it seemed ‘the journey‘ had other ideas.
On the way into Saveh I saw that Helens pump was now leaking oil as well as water. Not good, not good at all. We pulled into the first garage we saw. The guys spoke only Farsi but before long had set to work. It seemed to be Volvo lorry mechanic going by clutches and head gaskets hanging on the walls but the guys had bikes themselves including a 2 stroke Kawasaki dirt bike. They all laughed and nodded knowingly when I pointed to it and then made gestures and sounds for wheelies.
It actually reminded me a lot of the garage that friends Des and Kyle used to keep in Greenisland. Iranian Ryan was working skilfully at the bike while Iranian Kyle undid one bolt and then promptly lost it. Iranian Neil looked on enthusiastically and Iranian Rik breezed in to stop everyone with some chat for a while before leaving again. Iranian Des was nowhere to be seen since a bike was involved. Just like home.
There was a problem with the oil return pipe being in the way but they got cover off ok. I installed the spare pump we had with us and was pleased to note the guys putting some oil on the shaft before we put it through the seals. At this point they insisted on taking the gasket off to grease it and I could not explain to them I wanted it left there. It split while they were cleaning it and I instantly went into despair. I had visions of being there for weeks and having to fork out for import duty etc but the lads seemed rather unconcerned. They were more interested in lunch and staying out of the rain.
After lunch they took 3usd and syphoned some petrol from Helens bike and disappeared with the broken gasket in one hand (riding the bike with the other hand).
Meanwhile the youngest guy fiddled with an interesting waste oil heater for a while. It had a double loop design which preheated the oil before it came to a jet where it burned. Unfortunately it took a lot of effort to get it working properly and at one point flared up nearly setting the place on fire. After it was going for a while it went out instantly filling the garage with smoke. We got out sharpish since I wondered if the gas would be flammable and now in a nice fuel/air mix as the guy tried to relight it.
The main guy returned with a smug smile on his face and threw a perfect new gasket into my lap. It had obviously been machine cut someplace. I suppose I should have expected as much in a country used dealing with sanctions. The bike was quickly reassembled and lots of photos were taken for everyone.
They led us to a hotel with underground parking where we stayed for 2 nights since it was only 30usd a night. It was painful to get money changed there – we tried about 6 banks and used a watchmaker in the end. I was getting some strange looks because I walked around in the hotel indoor shoes.
My bike grounded on the way into carpark but Helens grounded on way out in a big way. It made a tremendous bang and stopped dead, rolling back down the hill. I was filled with fear as we had a look at the damage but the only problem was a hook broken off the sidestand where the spring connects. On the way out my bike lost some clutch material but at least did not ground.
On to Esfahan baby!
*oto-lastic = Roadside tyre repair shop