Gordon-and-Sam
IMG8472
YELLOWHAMMER-473-
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
FROSTY-MORNING-
Landscape
SBJ
IMG9097
Turin-Brakes6
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07
Mop-Fair---10-10-09------08
Remebrance-18-2
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Camilla-MSM
Inbox-1
Inbox2
Brazier
TdB-Pewsey044
D4S9273
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
D812668
Remebrance-18-1
Roving-Crows1
Civic-Service-18
Musical-Time-Machine5
Ogbourne
Sunset
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
D4S0472
George-Wilding-301
Hares017cropped
MBORO-HOCKEY-YOUTH-473
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
White-Horse
Animals06
EARLY-MORNING-CANTER-473-
JazzFestSat572
Duke-of-Kent086
Big-Bull
Remebrance-18-3
Brooks-Williams1
Scouting-for-Girls7
Sunset2
Snowy-High-Street
Torch-2012-05-23093-
Tina-May5
BABRURY-XC-JUMP-473
MYFC005
Camilla-2012-10-19152
4MI-2013-11-28030
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09------30
Pete-Gage-Band1

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Litfest Reviews – Chapter Five: How motorcyclist Lois Pryce found out that “Iran is a nation of extroverts”

Lois Pryce with fellow biker in the LitFest cafe at the Town HallLois Pryce with fellow biker in the LitFest cafe at the Town HallWhen travel writer, journalist and motorcyclist Lois Pryce told her friends and family that she was planning to undertake a 3000-mile motorbike journey across Iran, she received an overwhelming response – “Iran? What do you want to go there for?”

 

This was in 2011, when tensions between the British and Iranian governments were at an all time high.  Lois, however, was unperturbed.  Dissatisfied by the way the West is 'drip fed' anti-Islam sentiments, Lois wanted to find out for herself what Iran was really like.  So, she did - in 2014.

The result was her book her latest travel memoir Revolutionary Ride.   The numerous biker jackets in the buzzing Town Hall on Sunday afternoon (September 30) signalled the presence of the motorcyclists of Marlborough who had come to hear Lois Pryce speak about her experiences. 

Bikers and non-bikers alike were not disappointed as we were treated to a talk that was both fascinating and entertaining and gave us an insight into a largely misunderstood nation. 

It was not easy getting into the country:  “At first my visa was rejected with a lot of strange questions about what my purpose was in the country.  Then it was accepted, however they said that I couldn’t bring my bike.”  The way she got around this is told in more detail in her book, she explained, but involved sneaking the bike in on a train.

Lois in Iran - with motorcycleLois in Iran - with motorcycleLois recognised that there would be “...no friendly ambassador offering me a cup of tea” if something went wrong and she was largely on her own.  However, she soon experienced the overwhelming hospitality of the Iranians.  There was never any need to book a hotel, she said, as there was always someone offering to let her stay over.

Navigating the roads of Iran was a challenge.  You need to learn to 'drive like an Iranian' if you have any hope of travelling unscathed. Many Iranians would tell her proudly that according to the World Health Organisation Iran has the world's highest rate of road deaths. 

“People travelling at 70mph would try to talk to me from one inch away,” Lois told us - beaming.  Bilingual signs were rare and Lois wanted to 'embrace the lostness' so avoided screens and GPS. She said that this led to interesting conversations as she asked people for directions. 

From these discussions with ordinary Iranian people she got a better grasp of what Iran was really like - from the underground music scenes and secret raves in the desert to the climate of fear that Iranians live with, despite their undeniably positive outlook. 

“Every adult I spoke to had been arrested at least once,” she told us. In some cases, this was for a few hours for wearing too much makeup for example, but in others it was for a longer period and was too traumatic to speak about. 

During question time, Lois was asked how she avoided getting arrested:  “I was actually brought into the police station at the start of my trip.  I think that the authorities are more used to the idea of a spy than a tourist.” 

Above all she discovered that ordinary Iranians were 'open minded, cosmopolitan people', with a genuine desire to engage with the wider world.  She believes that at home we should 'be more Iranian' by emulating their friendly, positive and open outlook in our daily lives.

Print Email

D812668
IMG8472
Camilla-MSM
Mop-Fair---10-10-09---08
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08---07
D4S0472
George-Wilding-301
Brooks-Williams1
TdB-Pewsey044
Big-Bull
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
Civic-Service-18
CivicSelfie1
Roving-Crows1
ARKManton-2012-01-1449-
Camilla-2012-10-19152
Ogbourne
Remebrance-18-2
Musical-Time-Machine5
Turin-Brakes6
Duke-of-Kent086
D4S9273
Gordon-and-Sam
Torch-2012-05-23093-
MYFC005
Pete-Gage-Band1
Sunset2
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
Landscape
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Remebrance-18-1
Remebrance-18-3
Sunset
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
Brazier
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
IMG9097
Scouting-for-Girls7
Hares017cropped
Animals06
JazzFestSat572
White-Horse
Tina-May5
SBJ
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09---30
4MI-2013-11-28030
Snowy-High-Street