Neil's wheelless 10‏

May 2, 2012

Hey you;

The good news just keeps coming:

1. Two more people have promised to donate to the ransom fund, one with all of his pocket change and another with some post-vacation left-over Mexican coins. That makes a total of 4 promises, and 7 Mexican pesos. We are prepared for anything now.

2. And, we don’t need it … yet. I just hope that some random ransomer doesn’t find out how well insured Neil is. I hope that the efforts of “pre-need” planning don’t actually increase the danger of kidnappation.

The folks at Eldertreks laid out a nice and complete tour of Iran. Then, the guide Fatima has added extra stuff that she knows about to the agenda. This leaves everyone, including Neil, fatigued from zooming from here to there and everywhere in between. On Monday, it finally got to him and, in lieu of more sights, he just sat on the bus and slept. Julie and I encouraged him to not wear himself down. His voice sounded feak and weeble.

The group had camel meat for dinner. Julie asked if it tasted like chicken. I asked if it was lumpy and humpy. Neil said no, it was dark and strongly flavored. I could have used some more description – but that’s what he gave us.

Many people approach the tour group members and ask to have their picture taken with them. Neil says all of the people are so “sweet and loving.”

Another of the group, Joanie, met an Iranian guy who spent his youth in Mississippi. (I didn’t ask if he had a funny accent.) The guy claimed that it was absurd to think that Iranian engineers could design an atomic bomb—because they are all too stupid. And, that everyone has plenty of freedom in Iran. Iranians can write magazine articles criticizing the government, no problem. Then, he asked if he could bring his wife to talk with the group. The tour guide said absolutely not.

They have passed several long lines of trucks, coming from Afghanistan, that were being searched for drugs.

In one small village they stopped to inspect a “pigeon house.” The locals constructed a large structure in which wild pigeons could roost. Then, in exchange for the rent, they collect the manure for crop fertilizer. Pretty clever.

There might be a problem with this scheme. Sure, the pigeon manure will increase the crop production. However, the birds eat crops. Is it a net gain? It’s a crop-crap conundrum.

While walking around, the group stopped to talk with a guard at a mosque. He was 86 years old and amused that Neil was only 85. A female member of the group shook his hand. The guard lightly protested to Fatima that it was improper for a mosque guard to touch the hand of a female. Fatima laughed and told the group that he probably enjoyed it.

At an archeological site, they came across a group of Japanese tourists. Neil tried to impress the Japanese guide, and to get one of the cookies that she was handing out to her own group, by saying some phrase in Japanese. It didn’t work. No cookie for him.

Just as well. The sugar might have rotted his teeth and then he wouldn’t be able to chew the camel soufflé.

No ransom note yet.

-Steve

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