Day 72 (2): One man's sorrow is another man's gain

Rayen Travel Blog

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The road to Rayen
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Michael (Australia), Hossein (Iran)

We arrived in Rayen well after dark. I was really glad we had Hossein with us now, since it would have been impossible to find our way on our own. The Lonely Planet lists a single hotel, but Hossein knew another one. Unfortunately this one turned out to be closed, so we had little choice but to go to the Rayen Arg Tourist Hotel.

Well, I have stayed in awful places before, but this was definitely one of the awfullest of awfulness. Despite being only about 5 years old, the building looked as if it could collapse every minute. Paint was peeling from the walls and ceiling, lights were not working and it seemed the floors had not been mopped since its opening.

They told us the price per person was $10 and would be the same if we stayed in a double room or in two single rooms.
My wonderful shower/toilet combination
Well, in that case we didn't mind having two rooms, of course. This they had not not expected and all of a sudden there was only one single room available, so if we wanted two rooms we had to pay $15 for the second room. Hossein managed to bargain this down for us, but it immediately set the tone for our stay. The place was deserted, we were the only guests and it looked as if we were the only guests to have come here in a long time. With 'service' like this I can imagine the hotel not doing much business.

Oh, the best thing I forgot to tell yet, the bathroom in my room. It didn't bother me that the bathroom came with a squat toilet (I am used to these by now), nor that the shower was in the middle of the bathroom so after taking a shower the whole bathroom would be wet.
Rayen citadel
No, these are all things I am used to by now, as this is pretty standard in Iran. What isn't, though, is that the shower head was right above the toilet, using the toilet as the drain for the water. This means I had to stand pretty much *in* the smelly toilet to have my shower - YUCK!

The hotel had a large restaurant as well, with a nice courtyard full of daybeds (all in various states of decay). We had some OK dinner here and spent the rest of the evening chatting to Hossein about his future plans to start a proper travel company specialising in trips to the desert.

The next morning we visited the Arg-e Rayen, a partically restored mud-brick citadel in the centre of town. A stunning building.

Since an earthquake destroyed a larger citadel in nearby Bam, seven years ago, Rayen has seen quite an increase in tourism.
Rayen citadel
An increase in tourism which has had no effect on the number or quality of tourist facilities in the town, but an increase nonetheless. These days Bam is all but bypassed by people visiting Iran.

We had figured we wanted to see both though. Back in Tehran Araz had told me the ruins of Bam were still impressive, so we wanted to travel there today before returning to Kerman. Hossein dropped us off at a highway checkpoint from where we could catch a bus to Bam. Unfortunately, the bus just passed as we were sorting out our luggage (Hossein would take our bags back to Kerman for us). Not to worry though, Hossein hailed a car for us and arranged a lift to Bam in a brand-new, air-conditioned Peugeot. Well, lift, the driver expected a payment of $5 for the two of us, but this was probably still cheaper than the bus would have been. And faster too! Even though we set off about 10 minutes after the bus had passed, we drove so fast that we overtook the bus on the outskirts of Bam.

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The road to Rayen
The road to Rayen
My wonderful shower/toilet combina…
My wonderful shower/toilet combin…
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Our wonderful hotel...
Our 'wonderful' hotel...
restaurant area of the hotel
restaurant area of the hotel
View of the Rayen citadel
View of the Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Hossein playing the tourguide insi…
Hossein playing the tourguide ins…
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
Rayen citadel
building bricks at Rayen citadel
building bricks at Rayen citadel
Rayen
photo by: Vlindeke