Iran part 2

December 30, 2012  |  Iran

Riding from city to city via highways and then checking of every tourist attraction in the city mentioned in the Lonely Planet travel guide was getting a bit exhausting. After a while every mosque starts to look the same. A dome, two minarets and some nicely aligned blue tiles. I decided to shake things up a bit and went out to find Qotrom village. A small desert village a bit outside of Yazd that a fellow Korean traveler had mentioned the night before.

On my way there I saw a man waving me over. He was stranded alongside of the road without any fuel. I empty my 3L jerrycan in the tank of his car and decline his offer to ride with him to the nearest gas station so that he can pay me back. It was nice to finally do something back to the friendly people in this country.

A bit later I pass a cyclist. I don’t give many thought to it but then suddenly I think of how weird it is to see a cyclist on a long empty road. There are not many bicycles in Iran and the few that there are will never see a desert road in their lifetime. I stop and wait for the cyclist to catch up. It’s a guy from New Zealand who started his trip in Beijing and is now heading for the border of Pakistan. We share a few stories and wave to the trucks that horn as they pass us and then head our own way again.

Qotrom was located between a few mountains far away in a desert. Great scenery from the mountain next to it.

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Late in the afternoon I arrive at the hotel in Yazd again. Some other travelers have arrived and we have diner and conversation the rest of the night.

The next day I went to Shiraz without anything arranged for sleeping. Just before I arrive in the city some dude comes driving next to me on the highway and invites me over at his place. His name is Ruzbeh, a car mechanic and he lives together with his one year older brother with downs-syndrome. A stay at their place for three nights and learn that just a few weeks before they made a bus trip to Ankara to go to the American embassy because they want to move to the USA where their parents live. We eat at some family friends of them a few streets further where I have to eat so much food I almost burst.

In Shiraz I apply for the visa extension again. This time it’s really easy and my visa is extended by 30 days. Suddenly it feels like a big vacation. Before I was been rushing from place to place to make sure I could see everything in my limited time but no there’s no need for rush. I meet with a friend of Alireza, mu couchsurf host in Tabriz. When I mention I want to make custom christmas cards but can’t find a christmas hat in Iran she offers to make one for me. We go to the Bazar and get some fabric. A day later she has made a perfect hat for me. That’s like magic to me. I have absolutely no idea how to do something like that. Merry christmas!

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After three nights at Ruzbeh I move to a hotel. Ruzbeh and his brother go to Tehran to organize some more paperwork for their emigration. In the hotel I meet Thieme. A Dutch guy who almost makes the same trip as me but then on a bicycle! The funny thing is that a friend of mine mentioned his website www.tiemehermans.nl a few weeks earlier. His parents came to visit him and they’re planning to travel around Iran for a few weeks. It’s almost difficult to switch to Dutch all of a sudden!

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When I left Shiraz I drove trough the city gate. Supposedly it brings luck to go trough this gate before you go on a long journey. After Shiraz I went to Persepolis, Pasargad and Naqsh-E-Rostam. I went wildcamping for the first time in Iran. It rained and my jacket, with all my papers in it was lying in the front compartment of my tent. A stream of water decided to pass trough exactly at that point and soaked all my papers. It didn’t stop raining in the morning so I decided to skip a few recommended sights and rode south. Where it was warm. In half a day I escaped the rain and entered an entirely different climate with palm trees, dromedary and a temperature that dried my clothes in no time . I spotted the occasional Nomad tents before I had the privilege to set up my tent myself somewhere in a dry field near a small creek.

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The following day was a milestone. It was day 50 in the trip, I had hit the 10.000km and reached the Persian Golf. The first sea I saw since Greece about 35 days before. I rode east along the coastal road until it was dark, found a hotel and continued going east the next day. A bit before Bandar Abbas I took a ferry to Qeshm Island. An island which supposedly must had some weird geography and was worth to drive around on. The ferry was a bit of a hassle but after an hour or so we completed the paperwork and I could board the ferry.

I ride around a bit and enjoy the island before going yo Qeshm, the biggest city on the island. It’s already a bit dark and I’m unable to find a good spot too camp so I search for a hotel in Qeshm. They are all a bit expensive and I’m getting dangerously low on money. I planned to spend only two weeks here and now I’m already in the third. I ask around and am invited to someone’s home again. The guy is called Hossein and wears a khandura. A white arabic dress. I’m not even halfway done with parking my bike inside his house when he asks me if I want to take a shower. ‘Yeah, sure’ I reply ‘But first things first’. I like to organize myself a bit first and don’t rush things but Hossein and his brother can’t wait to show me their shower. ‘Come, come! It’s over here! Come’. I really don’t understand what the rush is all about. I noticed the same thing in Tabriz and Shiraz too. Hossein asks me if I’m hungry and I reply that I could eat some. He says he’s going to make some food and I take a shower. When I come back there’s a plate ready with seven oranges. ‘Well that’s a weird diner’ I think but I try not too judge the Qeshm customs and as the good boy that I am I finish my plate of seven oranges. When I’m done Hossein enters the room with the real diner. I accidentally ate his whole fruit bowl. Sorry Hossein.

A few friends of Hossein arrive and everybody starts to talk about religion. They all take it very serious and so I don’t feel comfortable telling them that I’m an atheist when they ask me about my religion. ‘I’m a christian’ I answer barely getting the words over my lips. I jokingly ask them if that’s a problem and almost shocked I would think such a thing they assure me they’re open for all religions. We talk about religion for the rest of the night, something I really don’t like, and watch videos on youtube of christians converting to Islam.

The following morning Hosseins brother draws a map on a piece of paper of all the things on the island I have to see. He draws it too big and needs a second piece of paper that he tapes to the first one. The map is great and I ride around the island to some caves, a mangrove tree jungle, some valleys and I join a couple of guys in a boat to see dolphins.

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I go back to Hossein again and he tells me that if his brother comes and asks me if I wan’t to come with him to the house next door I must say no. He doesn’t tell me what it is about but I promise him I will say no. When his brother comes he indeed asks me to go with him. He’s a bit drunk and he smells like alcohol. I suspect this is what Hossein meant. He doesn’t want me to drink alcohol. The hot water in Hosseins house doesn’t work today so I have to take a shower in the house next door. Hossein tells me to make it quick and don’t linger around. When I enter the house there’s a small party going on with wodka and whisky. Some guys ask me to join them and drink with them but I have to refuse. I made a promise to Hossein. I take a shower and after I’m finished we eat diner there. Everybody is drinking but I lie and say I don’t drink alcohol and take a sip of my coke. After diner we go to Hossein’s house again where Hossein shows me an arsenal of new Islam propaganda videos. He asks me if I’m convinced yet and if I want to be a moslim. This goes on the rest of the night while there’s a party with alcohol next door.

I stay another night at Hossein, see some more of the Island , camp one more night on the Island in some valley and then leave the Island to Bandar Abbas. I’m going to meet with a German guy here who is also on a motorcycle in Iran. I got his contact info from a French guy in the hostel in Isfahan. We’re going to ride Pakistan together as we feel it’s more safe this way.

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3 comments on “Iran part 2

  1. volgens mij is er een verband tussen de lengte van je baard en je ruggengraat

  2. Marjory Andela on said:

    He daar,

    Vet man daar op die boot met de dolfijnen :D
    Je hebt er weer een mooi verhaal van gemaakt. Mooie foto’s ook. Vind de foto met die opgedroogde grond ook erg mooi gemaakt.

  3. hamid Nuzad_Ahmad Esmaeilyan on said:

    تشکر می کنیم.
    سایت جالبی بود.استفاده کردیم.
    و از اومدن شما به ایران
    خیلی خوشحالیم.
    از طرف احمد اسماعیلیان
    وحمید نوزاد
    ایران -ماکو_بازرگان

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