Knife to see you



I’m writing this blog with a slight tremble. Adrenaline is still coursing through my system following the incident two hours ago.

At first, I thought about not telling the folks back home, as I didn’t want to cause undue worry. But, after thinking about it a bit, I reckon the catharsis of documenting the “experience” will do me good. I’d like to include the caveat that this could have happened on the streets of Dublin or Cork, or most likely, Limerick- so here goes.

The last few days in Iran have been great, I spent my first night in a Mosque and was brought dinner by a chipper young lad who’s name I can’t recall. Persian rice is possibly the best rice in the world. Last night I was hosted by Ali at his restaurant, he invited me in after I stopped to help him unload his weekly soft drinks delivery. Iran, I thought, was turning out just great.

On the outskirts of Mashad, things took a sinister turn. I was happily waving and saalaming my way into the city when a motorbike with three “youths” with face masks burned past. I noticed them enough to register their passing, then thought nothing of it. A kilometre down the road and they stopped at a stretch of waste ground.

My spidey sense tingled, and I ignored their hand signals to slow down as I passed instead pushing the pedals a little harder. But they gave chase. Similiar to Si I have covered 1400km since my last proper rest, and there was little power left to out run them. They caught me and pulled me off my bike. When I stood up to fight, I’m not much of a fighter but there was no way I was letting all of my worldly possessions be wheeled away without one, or at least an attempt to hold them off until help arrived.

The blood was up, and I started screaming like a mad man. And tried to wrench my pride and joy from six pairs of greasy mits and wrestle myself back onto the road. Then they produced flick knives and I had to let go. One of the little bastards, and I remember this vividly, had a mullet! He made several lunges at me with his knife while the others attempted to get to grips with my bike. Luckily with the trailer loaded its pretty hard to handle so this bought me time. The sight of of two hoodrats manhandling a fully loaded three wheeler would have been funny had the situation not been so serious.

Its amazing how clearly you can think in such a crisis. With mullet head lunging wildly at me with his knife, with a delirious venom in his eyes, and while yelling and grunting like a crazed baboon trying to look as fearsome as instinct allows. I still managed to do a quick inventory of where exactly my dollars, bank cards, and passport were stowed and commended myself for keeping them in my backpack which was on my back.

That said, there was a scary moment when I realised that passing motorists weren’t stopping. And the Mulleted twat’s lunges were becoming more purposive as a result. He was growing braver as he realised my powerless. When one missed my stomach due to a well timed arching of my back I was considering abandoning all of my possessions, my clothes, camping gear, ipod, KTM etc, and legging it. I know a they’re not worth getting stabbed on the roadside in Mashad for, but its easy to say that when some one’s not trying to take everything that you worked for three years to accrue. On an expedition things become more than just things. Everything I have is essential to get me home. And I wasn’t ready to switch to flight mode without good reason.

Just as I thought I and/or my stuff was f%^ked the little knackers legged it. Scarpering like simpering hyenas. Some work men had heard my roars and were throwing rocks at the little c*&ts. They jumped back on their motorbike and sped off empty handed. A kindly guy on a motorbike stopped and called the police but after half an hour the crowd-and my protection was dwindling so I decided to go fearing that I was still on their turf. He invited me to stay at his house, but I just wanted to get as far away from the scene of the crime as I could.

I spent an hour navigating the manic traffic of Mashad. With my adrenal glands still set to medieval battle mode I attacked the traffic chaos with an aggression that was with hindsight un-wise. Finally making it to Atefah’, our host’s palatial apartment on the right side of the tracks by nightfall.

As the shock subsides, and I replay the events in my mind its hard not to be a bit freaked out. Three guys pulled me off my bike and tried to stab me fer fecks sake. Still, I’m trying to make sense of nearly being knifed, and remind myself that this could have happened anywhere and I shouldn’t let it interfere with my experience in Iran.  I don’t want to spend the next 10,000km on edge.

Its important that I don’t let this freak occurrence colour my view of Iran and the world.

Its still a big world out there full of a benevolent 99.9% right?


21 thoughts on “Knife to see you

  1. My blood is pumping just reading it.

    I would say that (and it is easy for me to say it) that the people of Iran cannot be judged by this event. The same way you can’t judge all the Irish because of a drug addict purse snatcher in Dublin.

    Take baby steps until you get your confidence back and then trust your spidy sense.


  2. Jesus Ferg – I’m so glad you’re OK – what a terrifying experience – hope you can find time to get a bit of rest and get your head back together – take care bro

  3. hey Ferg
    scary stuff not very plesent to say the least a lucky outcome, you re right though, talk it through have a rest then get back to where you left off and try not to let it tarnish any of your views. take care M

  4. Hi Ferg,
    was shocked to hear what happened to you and felt very angry at the little(wont say). So happy you are okey please have a chilled day to let the head settle your mind must be spinning.
    When are you meeting Simon, I am sure you could do with some brotherly company, we are all thinking of you, take care and have faith as you say yourself most people are kind,
    Love Anne

  5. bloody hell lad, well done, you did great facing a horrible situation,your sure to be shaken up, but give it a few days and you’ll be 100%, this was always going to be a series of difficult,trying and for us following the 2 of yous worrying adventures and challenges, you did well- but don’t forget anything material can be replaced, there’s only one ferg and one si.
    look after yourself

  6. Ferg – you are a legend ! Not only have you single handedly stood up against three little pricks in what is a vulnerable position for you – but you still have the foresight to see that Iran is a good place and this bunch of c*nts are the minority. Stay stong – we are all behind you.

  7. That was a real shocker Ferg, I’m so glad you’re safe. As you say it could have happened anywhere. Keep trusting the instincts!

    Your last line says it all:

    Its still a big world out there full of a benevolent 99.9% right?

  8. Ferg,
    Hang on in there. You handled it really well.

    Hopefully the rest of your time in Iran will be more peaceful.
    Look after yourself.

  9. Little &*%!s

    Glad to see you’ve an active spidey sense, and are smart enough to keep the head in a situation.

    This incident is a great story and a great lesson, dont let it become a monkey on your back cos your better than that. Rest up when you can, gather your thoughts, be strong and ride on brother.

  10. Wow Thanks for the good vibes : )

    Its been a few days now and the heart has stopped racing. I reckon the pulse will still quicken a bit every time I hear two a stroke engine rev for a while. But other than that all’s good here in Mashad.

    Nice to know you’re all with us.

  11. Another voice to the chorus lad, relieved you’re physically unscathed. I got mugged in France once, but found that a vivid recounting of the tale to locals (Parisiens) meant they were excessively helpful and accommodating owing to a patriotic duty. Try milking it. And take care.

  12. Hey Fearghal,

    Nasty story, good thing you got out of that situation with your health and all your stuff. At least you got to see how your instinct works in a situation like that. Hope you enjoy the rest of Iran.

  13. Fearghal,
    Lots of your cousins in the States are following your journey and enjoying your adventure. Thank God that you survived your attack – hoping the positives outweigh the negatives as you continue your journey west.
    Best wishes and Merry Christmas

  14. I can’t think of anything smart to say. Glad you’re alive – of course. I envy you the rice, though, at least as much as I don’t one little bit envy you the mugging.

    If I were you, I’d get stuck in to some serious comfort eating.

  15. Glad you’re ok.

    As a limerickman I take offense to your slur on this fine city. If you took time to visit limerick you’d realize that its the knackers who keep beating up on the knackers while (for the most part)the good citizens of limerick go about their happy little lives.

    Happy travels


  16. for me your text is so difficult to read without translating. but I could understand.
    glad you are Ok. I dont know what to say about this terrible expierence.look after your self

  17. Do you not think it would be better to think twice about this? That is not to imply you’re incorrect, but when you write things like this, it should upset some folk. And I wonder if you have given thought to the opposite side of your post.

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