Beam me down: This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are: 29 30' N 54 25' E
Sunday 10 January 1999
How odd. This is the second time I have landed in this part of Iran in the last month.
COUNTRY AND REGION
This is the south-western part of the Fars province of Iran, where the Persians and the Farsis first settled, and where the Achaemenians (559- 330BC) and the Sassanians (AD224-637) founded their empires.
You are near the villages of Dovon and Ghowri, and the town of Neyriz, seat of a Babist sect - a mystical branch of Islam who express themselves through poetry.
NATURE OF THE TERRAIN
This is the southern tip of the Zagros Mountains. The land is harsh, craggy and dry.
Around 1,000m (3,300ft).
LIKELY WEATHER CONDITIONS
The temperatures here in the hills are much cooler than right on the Gulf. At night you may even see frost. By day you will enjoy endless warm sunshine.
The national language of Iran is Farsi. Arabic is spoken in some villages on the Gulf.
Iran is a land susceptible to earthquakes. According to experts, Iran may receive its "Big One" within five years. Otherwise, beware of being caught without a valid visa.
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
Polyglot President Khatami was elected in 1997 and is still trying to consolidate power over the mullahs.
REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND
Less than 40km (25 miles) to the west you can find the Bakhtegan and the Tashk Lakes, part of a National Park established to protect rare migratory birds. Otherwise, return to the well conserved ruins of Persepolis, the legendary capital of the Achaemenian empire.
GETTING THE HELL OUT OF HERE
You need to get to the road that leads from Neyriz to Shiraz, from where you can catch flights to destinations throughout the Middle East. You might also try catching a dhow across the Gulf to Dubai.
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