Cape to cape and further

Richard is on the road for his major trip.

Destination: all the way..........

Entering Iran

Week 41, monday 10 October - sunday 16 October 2011.
By approaching the Turkish-Iran border we were allowed to pass a long queue of trucks. They waved us through and within five minutes the Turkish officials stamped our passports. As soon as we arrived at the gate to Iran we were attached to an official. This official was there especially for tourists to help them with the paperwork. After handing over our passports, it took him only five minutes to get our passports checked. Whereas the Iranian people had to unpack all their belongings, we were allowed to pass through without them even looking at our bikes. After this step we were attached to another official who took care of the paperwork with our Carnet de Passage. Also in this case we didn’t have to wait, the official passed the queue of people and put our paperwork on the top of all the others. We had to wait for another five minutes when the official came back and signed us to keep 20 ready. We thought that he meant $20, so we both held $20 in our hand. After three minutes the paperwork was done and we went outside to show them our bikes. When we handed over the $20 he say no I mean €20. We told hem that we had only dollars and after a moment of silence he accepted the dollars. That was the first savings we made in Iran. We were allowed to enter Iran and the only thing that we had to do more was to get insurance for the bike during our stay in Iran.
When we entered Iran there was a guy who came to us and asked for our passports. Because not all the officials were wearing uniforms, we thought that it was another official. After showing our passports to a guy in a small locket we had to go back to get another stamp. This guy came to us and ask for €20 each person for his help. We asked him, “what help, just getting a stamp?”. “Give me my money”, he said. “No way, you should have said it to us in advance before you asked for our passports”. “Just give me my money”, he said again. We argued for a while and we ended up giving him $20 for what he had
done. He was a bit pissed, but we refused to pay more, so he had to accept it. We went back to the guy in the small locket and after a last check of our passports we were allowed to pass the last gate. Now we were really in Iran and we still had to arrange the insurance for our bikes. The same guy guided us trough a small alley to an insurance company. For $53 I had an insurance for three months. At 15.00 and with 31615 km  on the counter we headed towards Tabriz. We wanted to stay in our tent or find a nice cheap hotel. We didn’t find a campground and the only hotel in our GPS-system was in the middle of the center. We ended up in the “Iran hotel” in
Tabriz. It costs us $40 each person, but it was including breakfast. Unfortunately there was no internet so we went out to find a coffee-net (internet cafe) The next day we drove further to Ahar and Meshkin Shahr. We found a nice place in the mountains to sleep. We built up our new “tent” and cooked ourselves a simple dinner with rice and sardines. We had to drink water, tea and coffee because alcohol is not allowed in Iran. We saw a really nice sunset and we updated our diaries offline. When we wanted to go to sleep around 22.00 we heard and saw a moped coming in our direction. After five minutes
two men arrived at our place and started talking in Persian to us. We could not understand them but by moving our hands and legs we understood that they were offering us a place to sleep in their house. We told them that we liked to sleep outside and that we wanted to stay. Then they asked us if we had already ate and drunk something. We explained to them that we had already eaten. After fifteen minutes they left and we went to sleep. After one and a half hours I woke up as I heard some noises and it turned out that one of the guys had returned to bring us tea, bread, tomatoes and baked potatoes.
He insisted that we eat and drink the things he brought us. So happened that we were eating in the middle of the night with a total stranger in the mountains near Avra. The next morning we were surrounded by sheep and also some cows. It was quite funny because Harry had to make a toilet and that was not possible with all those animals around. After an hour the sheep and cows were gone and we were able to continue our trip. We drove the next day on an amazing road to Ardabil and further to Givi and Khalkhal. During this drive we meet lots of people who wanted to take pictures of us together with them and the motorbikes. Every time we stopped there were people coming to us and offering us drinks, cookies and food. Later than planned we arrived in Bandar Anzali and after a short search we found a nice beach to stay for the night. Unfortunately for us
the local people found us soon and also the police. They told us that it was not allowed to stay the night at the beach. It was already dark when we packed the bikes again and continued our trip to find a hotel for the night. After 15 kilometers we found a hotel along the beach. After bargaining we were able to rent a small room for $50 for the two of us. The next morning there was some light rain but not enough to wear our rain suits. We went to Rasht, but after 15 kilometers Harry discovered that he forgot something in the hotel. So we drove back and forth again. Around 16.00 we arrived in Rasht and we started
looking for a place to stay for the night. We wanted to do some bush-camp to save money. After a while we found a place to pitch up the tent. There were also other people and after a small chat they offered us tea and cookies. After one hour they offered us their house to spend the night. It was really amazing that complete strangers offered us their place. We were curious about the local people, so we accepted their offer and we followed them on our bikes. We arrived at a nice building where there was a big and clean apartment. After drinking some tea and hearing lots of stories the two guys Mustafa and Mustasa took us out for dinner. This night we met lots of locals and we smoked the water pipe. Later we continued to a couple of other places to meet friends of Mustafa and Mustasa. We drank some juice and smoked more pipes. Around 01.00 we returned to their place and we were happy to arrive there in one piece. The people here are really crazy if they are in cars. There are hardly any rules and you are allowed to pass other cars at every side. By the way the emergency lane is not only for emergency situations. On saturday we drove to Tehran by highway. When we were close to the capital we stopped at a fuel station to discuss the place were we wanted to stay the night. When we were discussing the matter, someone stopped beside us and asked us if he could help us. Eshan offered us a place by a friend of him and told us that he would be there in two hours. We went to the arranged place and we meet here some other bikers. After a quick introduction we were able to take a shower and changed clothes. After this, they took us to a restaurant were we had a nice dinner. Then later more friends showed up and the bigger the group became. We smoked again the pipes and had lots of fun together. This night Eshan offered us his place to stay the night. The next morning we joined him to his little boutique and we also bought a sim-card of IRANCELL. The last couple of days I had lots of problems with my own WORLDSIM. After some problems with the activation we finally managed to have a working cellphone. This night we had a nice evening with lots of drinks and food with a couple of club members in the clubhouse. The night we slept with four persons in the room, I used my earplugs so I didn’t hear anything and had a nice night of sleep. Tomorrow on monday we will head into the center for arranging the visas for Pakistan and India. In my next update you can read our experience with the embassies in Tehran, two very friendly colleagues of Harry.

Countries I have visited: