Samstag, 30. Juli 2011

Iran Through the Backdoor

After Kurdistan leg we approach another crucial moment on our trip: Iranian pass control.

The Turkish emigration takes some minutes each. The officer from Antalya excuses: "Computer slow here!" We go through a short gangway on international territory than we enter the Iranian border control building: Nobody is there. We see two pictures of Ayatollah Khoemeni and Ahmadinejad. A Turk complains: "Yeah, I work here. We have to look at them every day."

We don't dare to go through the door or even touch it. We are in Iran! Over and over again we raise our voice: "Salam." After some minutes a young officer comes to the control counter. He checks our details, scans the passport, asks "Dario? Craig?", he slams a stamp on our passport and then he remotely opens the kitschy wooden door. We thanks him with Farsi intonation: "Merci."

As soon as we exit the building a guy shouts: " Money. Money. Turkish Lira. Exchange. Exchange." Luckily we don't have significant Turkish lira left so we ignore him and head to the bank where we get a better rate:
50€ becomes 750.000 Iranian Rials or as they say 75.000 Toman. Don't ask me why. I think even they don't know.
At the exit of the border area taxi driver after taxi driver offers his service. Even after 15 Minutes (scarce traffic!) the men don't understand the idea of hitchhiking. It's amazing if you know that a hundred meters back on the Turkish side most people would understand 'autostop'.

First Iranian Lift! Merci!
The sixth car in total that we see leaving the border is our's. The two guys are Iranian Kurds. We can further our Kurdish on a short hop to the first big town in Iran: Orumiyeh. We see fundamental differences: There are apparently only four types of car brands in Iran: Two local companies that build KIA cars under licence, one with Peugeot engines and Peugeut itself as the only foreign brand (only three different models from three decades I think, latest Peugeot 207.

Another fact that leaps to the eye:  The single only place where you see Latin characters are on road signs. We are in a really different part of this world: Let's explore Iran!

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