Posted by: Tony Mangan. Note: Due to security and safety concerns Jean has been advised against traveling in Eastern Iran and Pakistan. From southern Iran Jean took a ferry to Dubai. From there he traveled onto India,the 50th country of his world wide walk. 46,600km walked and still 31,00 to go! Well done Jean!!
PEACE FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD On August 18th, 2000, at 9:00 am, Jean Béliveau left Montreal, Canada. His goal is to walk around the planet to promote “Peace and non-violence to the profit of the children of the world”. He is traveling alone with a three wheeled stroller to carry a bit of food, his clothing, a First Aid kit, a small tent and a sleeping bag. Jean plans to walk across all the continents, from North America to South America, then across to South Africa, up to Europe, then the Middle East, South and Eastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand and finally back to Canada.
This journey will take 12 years to complete which is in accordance with the United Nations proclamation: 2001-2010 – International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World
Dearest friends! ( Submitted by Luce)
I have no idea how was your late summer, for our friends of the Northern hemisphere and your early spring for our friends of the Southern hemisphere. Mine was quite busy! I am certain that you have comfortable doubts that my life away from my darling Jean is spent predominantly on the computer and this mostly to work on his never ending walk!
As my computer was getting old and upgrading it would cost quite a bit of money and still I would be stuck with an old machine, I decided to buy a new one… Would you believe that I migrated from a Windows PC to Apple iMac?
I first fell in love with the design of the iMac but after numerous searches on Internet and trials on the demos of a boutique near my home, I decided that I would be able to make that big move! The transfer of all my files went really well but I must get used to quite a different environment! Finally after many hours of reading and testing I believe to be functional regarding the works of the wwwalk.
Let us now move to the news about our friendly walker!
On August 1st he emails me from Astara: “That’s it! I am in Iran! It is the country where the border formalities have been the shortest. On the other side, you can just imagine the scenery: streets full of people and vehicles, signs displaying the Persian alphabet, the bazaars and travelling merchants filled to the brim with merchandizes of all kind, veiled women etc.”
The weather is hot… around 40°C and after having walked along the Caspian Sea coast, our walker climbs the continental shelf, cooler weather-wise, that will bring him to Isfahan. He soon realizes that there is absolutely no security problem in this country and that the Iranians are really nice and welcoming. He writes: “Under a rather sombre appearance, it is a most colourful people!”
Communication is difficult… cyber cafes are rare or their networks are very slow. On August 7th, Jean enters Rasht where he must have his sandals repaired as he started wearing them at the end of Georgia, the shoes that I had bought for him in Istanbul having walked more than 2000 km. He has to plan a shopping spree for clothes and shoes when he gets to Tehran.
He celebrates his 52nd birthday and the 7th anniversary of his walk in Saveh and on the following day he emails me: “I really thought that I would spend that day alone and sleep in the desert… finally, I spent the evening in the company of executives on road construction on their work site and we clinked glasses filled with orange juice! It was a wonderful celebration!”
Jean sincerely thanks all his friends who have send good wishes for his birthday… he is really touched by your kind thoughts. Once more, the friendly association of walkers for children in Buenos Aires sent their August 18th souvenir-photo.
He boards a bus from Saveh to Tehran where he visits his compatriots at the Canadian Embassy with the help of whom he plans a new walking itinerary in Iran. He will thus avoid Balutchistan, the south-eastern part of the country and this for security reasons. He will rather walk directly towards the port of Bandar Abbas in the south. There, he will embark on a ferry that will take him across to Dubai.
During his stay in Tehran, he buys some clothes including a pair of shoes! He also has his camera repaired as it had suffered an accident previously. I reiterate my request of getting me a flying carpet if ever he finds one in the numerous bazaars! I dream of possessing such a transportation mean since I was a little girl… that is a long time ago!!!
The Canadian embassy, concerned with the cause of peace for the children, helps him to organize a few meetings with people working at the UNESCO, of “Hamyaram Iran NGO Resource Centre” where Mr Baquer Namazi lets him in on a much dreamed about project, with regards to the concept “Children: Zone of Peace”. Jean is devastated when Mr Namazi informs him of some 600 000 refugee children because of the conflicts in the Middle East. These children mostly come from neighbouring countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Thereafter, he meets with people of “UN High Commission for refugees” where he learns about the efforts made for the repatriation and reintegration of these thousands of refugee families. An Iranian family who has relatives living in Montreal invite him for dinner and a little tour of the capital city.
Back to Saveh on August 28th, Jean gets back on the road, walking towards cities with names evocative of the ancient Persian civilization: Isfahan, Persepolis, Shiraz… and he thinks he might afford a small break to visit a few archaeological sites. About a hundred km before Isfahan, in Meymeh, he meets Farzad Shahabeddin who is captivated with the wwwalk and welcomes the walker warmly.
Once in Isfahan, he meets Poli, a relentless traveller from Madrid. We had both met Poli during our holiday in Spain in the winter 2005-2006. They share dinner reminiscing the wonderful places they both visited. I keep pretending that we live on a small planet!!!
Jean lingers in Abadeh for a few days to consult a dentist as he has a sore tooth. He emails me: “Iranians are so nice that I cannot help loving them! They are really cool and have a way of thinking that is very similar to ours. Their political and social leadership is different but their hearts are the same as ours.”
On September 25th, he visits the archaeological site of Pasargad where he can contemplate the monument that is said to be the tomb of Cyrus the Great and following this visit, he writes: “When I left the site, I felt a great happiness! How privileged am I to have travelled so far in Human History! From the American Empire, I went to the Totonaques, the Aztecs, the Mayas, and the Incas. Then in Africa, I saw the prehistoric Rift Valley, Abyssinia, Egypt of the Pharaohs and of the Romans. In Europe, it was the history of the Greeks and the Romans, that of Christianity, then the creators of overseas empires, Portugal, Spain, France, England followed by Germany and its history. Then, I went south to the Ottoman Empire and now I am deep in historic Persia! Imagine now what awaits me yet in the exotic East!”
A few days later, he offers himself the time for a long visit of Persepolis where again he is moved to press the soil of the ancient Persian capital and cannot help a few deep thoughts on our Humanity… its origins, its future…
In Shiraz, after obtaining a second extension on his Iranian visa, he realizes that visiting time is over and that he must now hasten to leave the country in time. However, he does not leave the city, which is claimed to be the most beautiful city of Iran, without having met a group of students from the Shiraz University of Technology. The students are amazed with the wwwalk and assail him with all kind of questions.
In Fasa, he is welcomed by a group of friends who lavish him with constant attention! He reaches Darab on October 13th and I do not have a word from him for a whole week. If we examine the maps of the region where he is walking, we can see that the cities are fewer and smaller. Internet accesses are consequently almost inexistent… so much so that when he arrives in Kankhom, he goes to Hajjlabad by taxi to consult his Inbox.
Six more days without a word from him and finally an email from Bandar Abbas on October 26th! On the evening of the 29th, he phones me from the Office of Tourism of the province of Hormozgan.
“The famous hospitality that we allot to the Iranian people is not overrated! They are one of the most welcoming and warm-hearted people I have met so far. The people from this Office of Tourism are fantastic with me. They gave me the ticket for the ferry that will bring me to Dubai tomorrow and this evening, I was invited to a party in honour of my wwwalk in their country. Walking in Iran was most pleasant!”
Till next time…
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