Iran (again)

WE MAY DO IT AGAIN!

Driving on the right side
After 5 months of left-side driving through Thailand, Malaysia, India, and Pakistan, we entered Iran and were supposed to drive on the right side again. So we thought: why not, let’s give it a try! 😛 As a ‘co-pilot’ I found it rather amusing that I would sometimes look up (yes, navigators often look down at maps and the gps) and get scared at first, because I thought we drive on the wrong side of the road. But luckily we’re still young and flexible (haha), so we got used again to good-old right-side driving by now.

Slightly ashamed admit that we’ve skipped Persepolis again…
Persepolis is situated nearby the city Shiraz and is so famous in Iran as is the Eiffel tower in Paris, or the Acropolis in Athens, or the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Well, you get my point I guess. So yes, we didn’t have enough time to visit that wonderful ancient city, like last year. Didn’t have the time, didn’t make the time… Maybe we’re just not motivated enough to visit very old must-see’s to scratch them from our bucket list. The thing with those must-see’s is, that you see so many pictures of how it will look like beforehand. I think, that takes away a lot of the surprise, unfortunately. And of course, some things might be way more impressive when you see them for real, and you can’t your amazement about all the things your guide has to say. But for us, many things are often more impressive when we don’t expect them. Like that beautiful bird during our breakfast in the nature (was it a woodpecker or not?), or a shabby ruin that suddenly pops up behind a hill, or a spontaneous encounter with a enthusiastic villager with which we try to communicate. Unforgettable! And who has ever asked you if you’ve been to the Zagros Mountains? Whaaat, you HAVEN’T been there?? Well, you HAVE to see them, otherwise you really missed something in Iran… 🙂

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Swearing about Iran
This time, nearly all the text messages seem to have arrived properly. So there was nothing wrong with that this year. Maybe it often didn’t work last year because we were in Iran shortly before the elections. We could also handle the traffic a lot better than one year ago. Interesting how useful driving through India during 2 months turned out to be… Even the boring kebabs you get everywhere, didn’t bother us. We simply cooked for ourselves or had dinner at the buffet of our great hotel in Yazd. Yes, even wearing a headscarf was easier than last year, partly because I took it less serious than one year ago. Especially while driving, I only wore a mini headscarf or a hoody. And when we would enter a city or I wanted to get out of the car, I would disguise myself again, of course. So that was all quite fine actually.
What drove us mad this time, and I mean really mad, were the military and policemen. For Wouter a reason to never turn back to Iran, for me a bit less extreme. We had to deal with them especially at the beginning and at the end of our trip through Iran. At the beginning we drove through the Balouchistan region. So like in Pakistan, we had escorts accompanying us.
And at the end we had the pleasure with them at the border crossing to Turkey.
You may call it an authority problem, but the unfriendly and time consuming way we got so-called protected or controlled in Iran, really drove us crazy. The worst part was at the 3rd change of escorts (when we had only driven 100km so far and really wanted to drive on). They made us wait for the new escort for one hour, when they let us know that these guys had been in the police station all the time having lunch. So that was the reason why we had to wait for that bunch of macho’s who then accompanied us for only 15km until the next escort (for which we had to wait as well, of course, because they weren’t there yet and had to come somewhere out of the desert). Grrrrrrrrrr!

Anyway…
….it was quite special to find a country as Iran a bit less exotic just because it’s the second time we visited it. But that didn’t make it less enjoyable. Because, except for the representants of the government as mentioned above (isn’t that a neat way to describe them?), Iran has many nice things to offer, such as, great nature, lovely people, cheap diesel, and marvellous ancient buildings. A paradise for overlanders! I think I’ll return one day. Who wants to join?


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