Foreward

Friday, 3 February 2012

Police Station


We were told at the hotel that we had to report to the chief of police and he would advise us of the procedures for getting to Bahrain. So we drove off and eventually found the police station and went inside. It was a single large room that looked like something out of a Mexican cowboy movie. Two policemen sat with their feet up on the only desk, sporting large moustaches and potbellies. They did not speak any English, and all we could understand was they wanted our passports and we were told to sit on a metal bed in the corner like prisoners. As the hours passed and nothing happened, we consistently tried to speak to them to make them understand, but they kept waving us back to sit on the old bed. We then had visions of being stuck here for days. Although I knew a bit of Arabic this was useless as they all spoke Farsi, so we could not even communicate anything.
Eventually there was a bit of a commotion outside and these two characters jumped up and saluted and in walked a very smartly dressed police officer. A few words were spoken in Farsi and then the officer said to us in perfect English, “Can I help you?”
To say we were relieved and pleasantly surprised is an understatement. This man’s English was better than our own and he sent the two policemen off to make us tea. It turned our Major Parviz had been educated in Tehran and then England and had attended Hendon Police College in north London, where he trained and then passed out.
He explained that all travellers had to report to him as he controlled all the shipping movements in and out of the port of Busheir. When I asked about the Ro-Ro ferry he nearly fell off his chair laughing. There were no major ships here as it was only a Dhow port and the entire Dhow captain fleet had to report into him coming in and out of the port. We explained that we needed to ship the Porsche 911 to Bahrain and we needed to accompany the car as passengers. He explained that there were unusually heavy seas in the Gulf at this time and a lot of Dhows had actually sunk and were lost including their crews and therefore he could not let us go as passengers for our own safety.
This posed a bigger problem as we had very limited funds left, in fact by the time we had paid our hotel bill and the Dhow captain, we would not have any money left between us. I did not tell Major Parviz this but we did ask him if we could telephone Bahrain to inform our employers where we were. He said that you could only telephone internationally from the post office and then it was only for 1 hour a day around 1pm.
After drinking our tea he drove us to the post office and arranged for us to call Bahrain. However we could not get a line through to Bahrain so we left it and Major Parviz took us for lunch as his guests. He said that there was so much change going on in Iran that most of the previous older police and service men were not educated like his generation, who were coming through the system bringing considerable change to everything. He certainly impressed us.
At this time the Shah was the great friend of the USA. The British were also doing well in Iran and the local car was manufactured in Tehran, was the old Hillman Hunter range rebadged.
Eventually we were back at the police station and Major Parviz told us he would arrange with a Dhow boat captain about shipping the car to Bahrain for us. I informed him we were really low on money and that we needed a good deal for the Porsche 911 as well as ourselves.
We called in the next day to find that the car was booked and that Major Parviz had arranged for us to pay the Dhow Captain upon arrival in Bahrain to help us with our cash flow problem. This news was greatly appreciated and we asked how much would we owe the Dhow Captain? Major Parviz told us what the car would cost so and that he had booked Bob and I on an Iran Air jet from the main airport in Shiraz to Bahrain in two days’ time. There were only two flights per week to Bahrain so we had to stay over a little longer. I then said we did not have the money to pay for these flights and we needed to go be sea with the Porsche. He would not hear of this and told us he would pay for our tickets himself and we could give the money to the Dhow Captain when he arrived in Bahrain with the car. We thanked him for his kindness and gratefully accepted this arrangement.
He told us the all the Dhow Captains were beholden to him as they could not move in or out of the port without his permission so there was no way the Dhow Captain would not pay him his money upon his return from Bahrain. 

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