Ending of Iran
The last stretch in Iran was very exiting and at so many times very tough… Mentally and physically. I see so many things on the road and is always thinking, “what can happen next”, well… a sheep as a passenger!!! I’ll get to that later.
Iran ended just as good as it began with friendly locals that kept offering food and good broken conversations. The scenery on the other end was a little boring as the desert areas began, but still gave some magical moments until I reached the border. The roads were flat, dry and very hot. When I was in Tehran I toughs the hottest days was over, but man I was so wrong. The temps during the hottest times of the day varied between 37 and 47 degrees Celsius. I always try to find shelter at these times and take a nice, long lunch.
After all my good experiences there is three last stories I would like to share before I head into Turkmenistan:
One day I ran out of water about 10km from one town, but was not too worried as I could see the town slowly approaching. Driving past towns (on the highway) there are stalls selling water, but with this town it was not the case. I had to cycle into this little village. This is normally where I get the strangest looks from locals as they never expect a foreigner cycling into their town, being over loaded as I am. I was very thirsty at this point and the temperatures was souring at 42 degrees (14:00 in the afternoon). I found a shop and ask for aab (water), Aab please… Pointing at my water bottles. The lady nodded and brought me a solid frozen bottle of water. I smiled, thanked her, but asked again as I needed some water I can drink at this point. She indicated that I should follow her. We went to the back of the shop where she took out two large pieces of ice and started to smash them to pieces…. then she shoved it into my warm water bottles. After she pushed in, every little piece of ice, I indicated that I will fill it. She smiled and asked (with hand gestures) if I want something to eat. I declined as I ate one hour before cycling into the village.
As she went into the shop I started to down water!!! Normally during the summer I drink at-least 1l of water when I do my refills, but this time I downed a whole big 1,5l of water. I felt my stomach pain and then drank a little more! This feeling always go away after 10 minutes and almost never pee because of the hot temps. I filled all the bottles and walked back into the shop. As I made my turn into the shop, holding my very very full stomach, as it felt I over did the water consumption this time, I saw the lady smiling putting not a big…… but an enormous plate of food on the floor. She pointed and smiled again. I stood there thinking of a 100 ways to get out of this one, but with the language barrier I could not find a good excuse… I mumbled something… and then just smiled and sat down. I looked at this HUGE plate of rice and somewhere in between a big piece of chicken slightly sticking out…. Thinking of how the hell Im going to eat this. “I was going to puke afterward, Im definitely going to puke”, I kept thinking. Slowly I started to force spoon by spoon down my throat.
I finished the chicken and about 1/3 of the rice and then thanked her and indicated Im going to explode. In between the meals she kept offering cola, fanta and doug… Which I declined. I never decline a cold coke!!! I thanked her and jumped back onto the bike and drove off. I was surprised that I felt better after about 10minutes. I just smiled and cycled on. I enjoyed the cold water for about and hour. The solidly frozen bottle showed me again on how hot it actually is. The bottle was totally defrosted after only 50min!!! Solidly frozen to warm room temperature water.
Everyday I try to fill all my water bottels (including my camel bag sacks) at the last town before I start to look for a camping spot. This is to re-hydrate during the night and be fresh the next morning and still have water for the first stretch of the day.
So I spotted my last town for the day and as I pulled up, parking my bicycle in front of the shop, the owner came and offered me tea. I thanked him, accepted and the ask “aab”. He showed me to a water machine (I always have a huge smile if I see the machines, as the water is normally ice cold) and again filled my bottles and stuffed my stomach. I did not even make it back to my bicycle as the guy gave me a chair, where the seat was missing but they fixed it with one solid piece of metal in the middle of the gap where the seat used to be. It was really uncomfortable, but tried hard not to show it. I enjoyed the tea and with lots of sugar. During my Cay another local came over and handled me a plastic container full of muffins… I did not even had enough time to thank him then another guy handed me grapes. I thanked everyone as I finished my tea and eating the grapes.
As I ate my grapes, a guy from one of the stalls walked to my bicycle, took out my water bottles, shakes his head and emptied the bottles. He went to his staff, got a huge part of ice, started to smash it up and stuff it into my water bottles. I could see he enjoyed it and so did I. This 30 minute stop gave me so many smiles. Its not just what they give you, but how they do it and you can see it comes from their hearts. I was about to get on my bicycle and almost forgot why I actually stopped there… water and food!!!! I ran into the shop, grabbed two packets of cooking and about 10 cucumbers. When I tried to pay the owner refused to take the money as I kept asking him to take my money. AGAIN I thanked him as I walked outside. I grabbed my camera, took a few quick shots, spoke to a few more people outside the shop (as there was now a crowd around my bicycle, but not irritating). I cycled away and then realised again how I have been enjoying Iran. The people make the experience 20 times better.
My day ended with a beautiful sunset in the West as the full moon slowly rose in the East.
So my sheep story… So one of the last days in Iran I was riding a nice pace listening to some music. And then I heard…. Hhhheeeeee, heeeeeee, hheeeeeeee…. A scooter was slowly approaching. As he got closer I saw this weird figure in my mirror as I cycled a little to the right to give him space to pass… Man…. And then…. As he passed me I saw a freaking sheep on his lap!!! A sheep… ALIVE!! And im not lying! As the scooter overtook me, this sheep look at me as they came past me… He looked at me like a dog would have! Before I could take in what I saw they were past me.
I laughed out loud as this was probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life!
The next day I got to the border and had to wait four days, because I was a little bit early before my Turkmenistan visa was kicking in. This gave me time to relax and eat some much needed food after a week of beans, tuna and cookies.
Now off to the desert stretch in Turkmenistan for the next five days