Entered Iran yesterday. So far so good, no issues what so ever...
I thought I'd share with you guys a little bit of what happened at the customs office. After receiving my turkish exit stamp on my U.S passport.. I had tried to hide it deep under my belongings thinking it might do worse for my situation. That is why I have to put this out there, without the blue passport, all this wouldnt have gone through this smoothly.. actually all this wouldnt have gone through at all.. The opportunities that the United states have given me are amazing, Thanks U.S. I love you!
I don't want to write down the whole process of how I eventually got through to the other side of the border, but if anyone is serious enough about traveling through Iran, I'll be more than happy to help out after I get home.
This little story i want to share is instead about people, stereotypical opinions, and swaying those opinions. Let's just say that I could probably have gotten myself into a lot of trouble but I was stubborn and argued till i saw that everyone was nodding their heads in agreement with me..
While waiting for the Carnet issue to be solved, I spent a few hours sitting with about 5 guys in a large lobby room. 4 of the 5 spoke no English at all, so the 5th guy became the translator for our conversations. I had already taken off all of my riding gear and had them stacked on a table with the jacket being at the very bottom. After a while, I excused myself to stretch my legs and on my return saw one guy wearing my helmet and another wearing my jacket just sitting and talking casually. I started to chuckle a bit, not because it was a funny sight, but to calm myself before I had a heart attack... I wanted to slap the guy wearing my helmet. Rule number one: you don't touch my helmet. Rule number 2: you never ever, ever put it on.
Anyways, those guys started talking about the jacket and the flags, telling me they were pretty impressed that I rode on the bike through all of those countries. Out of the blue, one guy pointed at the American flag and said something in Farsi. I thought this would be trouble for sure. The translator then said, "He says he does not like America, fu*k America."
My face lost all signs of happiness, and it probably seemed like I had never smiled a day in my life before. I was angry to say the least. I told the translator to ask that guy if he had ever been to America? The guy replied with a no.. then I asked if he had ever met an American in which he replied that he had met a few at the border. I asked if they were bad people and if they did anything bad to him? He replied by saying that they were tourists, so it was necessary for them to behave at the border or they wouldn't have been allowed entry from him.. I proceeded to tell him that I had lived in America for 6 years. I went to school with Americans, rode motorcycles with them, went to their houses, and hung out doing things that friends do. I love Americans..
Oh yea... I knew I had slipped and shouldn't have said that. There was 4 pairs of eyes giving me the longest stares.. 4 men breathing heavily with their fists clenched.. ok, so they weren't breathing THAT heavily.. but you get my point. They stared at me and said something along the lines of "Americans hate muslims, they bomb muslims!" I disagreed. I told them stories of how random people in America invited me to their house for dinner and gave me a warm bed to sleep during my journey. I mentioned ERIC WAGNER who took me into his house in Portland, Oregon and the lady who took me in her house in Omaha, Nebraska.. I told them American people weren't the ones that were bad, the problems lays within its government just like ...before i finished my sentence, someone exclaimed Yes!! Fu*k Bush! and another said fu*ck Bama..... Bama?? Obama???? hahaha! I exploded with laughter and said yes.. the problem is there, regular Americans are like you and me.. very nice people. They nodded and i finally saw a few smiles. Then suddenly, all at once they asked me how the women were in AMEERIIKA hahahaha
When we stereotype, we forget the individual. I've learned to get past the hatred of the whole, and learn to appreciate each person as their own individual. It is the only way we can find more room for love.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity
Martin Luther King
Every gas station I stopped at, the employees would force me, physically pulling me off the bike to make me go inside. They made me sit next to a heater and made me drink chai (tea). A bit too friendly hahaha. Such AMAZING people i happen upon!. Anywhere I stopped to ask for directions, groups would gather around the bike and I would be bombarded with a million questions. Duniya tour?? (world tour??),, Tourist?,,, American?.. How much Dollar motorciklest??
The guards at the border scared the hell out of me by continuously warning be about how careful I had to be. They advised that I should not take a single picture in Iran since the police didn't like it and I'd likely get into a lot of trouble if I was caught... I haven't taken a single picture yet but i think that will change with the rides to come.
Truckers here are pretty insane, they treat motorcyclists like pebbles on the road. At one point during the ride, the roads merged into one lane on both sides. I see one truck overtaking another truck...so that meant a truck is in my lane coming straight at me.. I thought he would brake and return to his own lane, but nope. That didn't happen. He continued straight at me until I had to ride off my lane and onto the shoulder. Did i mention that the shoulder was about the size of my rear tire?! I went off the road, into the dirt, and the truck didn't even move an inch. My bike slid right and left in the wet dirt, and I thought my fourth crash was about to happen but I somehow ended back on the road. I had my BARF signature sign up in the air, i hope they understood.
Im now in Tabriz, about 600KM from Tehran. It is still very cold and foggy. Temperatures are still in the negatives but no longer -23 Siberian weather. The riding is still pretty rough with roads far from perfect condition, slippery with a lot of potholes. There are stray dogs and donkeys that come chasing you in the middle of the road and because of the fog, I cant see anything in front of me with the visor down. So for 5.5 hours today, I had the visor up. The water in my eyes froze.. it was so painful to blink.. and frost painted my eyebrows and mustache white. the zippers on my shoes are no longer functional, so now my feet are even colder. The Visor on my helmet is broken from the side..and won't shut down all the way. Everything seems to be going backwards and sideways, however, I'm going forward, heading the right way.. the way to Pakistan..