So we arrived in this city, Kashan, took a walk around a visited some parks and sites, but next to that we started busking since we were a bit short on money we brought into the country. Everybody was happy to see us busking on the streets or in front of the bazaar, even if we aren’t really great musicians, we gave them a feeling of freedom. After some time, we got tired, so we started walking to the shop of the man we were staying at. After that, the guy came to us and asked us for passports. He didn’t show any signs of being a policeman, which made us doubt about giving him the documents, so we asked if he could prove that he is a policeman. He didn’t, so we started walking in the direction of the shop again. The guy and his partner followed us to the shop and how we understood also called for backup. Eventually, there was about 4 policeman around us in the shop, with a friend that doesn’t speak English. As it revealed, those really were the policeman so we finally gave the documents and thought all was fine. Our friend from the bus came by that time, lucky for us his English was reasonable. He translated that his friend, the guy where we stayed, told the police we are staying at his place because we don’t have money and we don’t want to pay for accommodation.
It’s better not to mention any home stays in these situations since that is not taken as a good, trusted thing over there. The guesthouses and hotels would have to let everyone know where you are staying or going. Since Couchsurfing is not taken as trusted, tourists should only to stay in the tourist bubble and look at sites? Well, that’s not really our way of travelling.
Back to the story, we kind of realised locals were in a way afraid of policemen or government if you like, it felt like they had some discomfort putting themselves in the story, mostly trying to keep themselves out. Our English speaking friend also translated there was something wrong with our visa, and that we shouldn’t worry, that they will take us to the hotel, bring our bags from the other guy’s place, and take us to Tehran at 4 am. In the meanwhile, they kept our passports and promised to return them when we see them again, as well as saying all will be okay and we could fly back to our country soon.?!
Well, as we arrived in Tehran in early hours, Jelle was questioned about our trip, stating that we have enough money and we like to spend time with locals so we stay at their homes and that we will continue our travel by road to Pakistan. In meanwhile Dutch embassy representative came to help us out with a translator, quickly things got resolved, there was turned out to be some misunderstanding about how long our visa is valid. (Iranian visa is valid for one month from the date you arrive, but you have a certain time limit for when you need to enter and start using the visa. So there was a misunderstanding since that last possible day of entry was already past, but our visa was still valid for the next two weeks). The other issue was they were worried we did not have enough money to survive and that we played on the street (especially I, as a woman was not allowed to sing).
The Dutch ambassador got us out of there promising they will deal with us, so we spent another few hours at the embassy. They wanted us to only stay in hotels and hostels since then so we had to book a hostel on the spot. Once we promised we could get the cash we could leave. They also gave us some other solutions how to get the money but the fee would be around 50 or 80 eur. Luckily we had some friends in Iran already that helped us out. In the end, all got sorted and we happily continued to travel our own way without being bothered.