November 25. Hosap – Orumiyeh (Iran) [N37°33´00,4”, E045°04´24,8“]

At search for: 37°33´00.4”, 045°04´24,8“ (here it says university of pittsburg which is definetley NOT true)

Km today: 225

I wake up early and recognize the sun is shining. Before meeting my friend from Internet café who invited me for breakfast I quickly clean the car. At the internet café we had a quite nice conversation yesterday using google translate to talk. Half past eight I am at the internet café and we go and have breakfast. I take the chance of the big and warm room and make a little yoga together with my new friend. Teaching yoga works without talking I find out! Nice, so I don’t need to interrupt silence for teaching next time! The breakfast with Kurdish people is awesome! Homemade bread and curd with omlet and nutella (they bought just for me).

When we are finished it is too late already to walk up to the castle. It´s ok for me as it is still very cold and I still have a cold too. In the morning ice was drifting down the river – now it stopped so I believe the road will be ok too. I leave around 10:30. Suryananda has starting problems again but all the people help (even though I don’t need it) so no problem. 5 minutes later engine is running and I chalo.

Quickly I pass the point where I had to turn around yesterday and soon I am glad I had to turn there. The following kilometers I climb up in first gear. Again snow on the road and I know if I stop it will not be possible to go on. Left and right of the road I see the victims of the night before. A few trucks lying next to the street or just being pulled out. I reach the top at 2755m (says gps – sign says 2730) and after I go down. I takes more than 2 hours to reach the town where I wanted to spend the night (only 50km way). I take some petrol for suryananda, drink chai there and soon continue. I can´t blame suryananda for taking so much petrol if we go up mountains like this. The landscape is unbelievable beautiful again – at least inside, in the warmth of suryananda.

I reach the border more than 1 hour before sunset and what I see there is incredible. People who say I have chaos at home should come here. It´s just crazy! There are only 2 borders between turkey and Iran and here is one gate hardly wide enough for two cars. But this one gate is the only way for both directions. The custom formalities are done within minutes but finding my way through the chaos takes more than 2 hours. All is blocked because everybody goes until no more place to go on. So forth and back many times to make way for people coming to turkey whilst trying not to fall back in the mass of cars that go to iran.

Custom officer are always amazed when I ask them what “thank you” means in their language and then immediately keep saying it for all they do for me. They don’t even check the car. When they ask me if I have any alcohol I make a shocked face so they stop explaining it is not allowed and smile in a second. It seems like people becoming even more friendly here. I change 100 euro and within seconds I am millionaire. I get nearly 1,5 million Iranian rial! When I come to Iran it is already dark. I pass the first petrol station as I read in the guidebook foreigners have to buy a ration card before it is possible to go to the petrol station. Orumiyeh, the next city is only 50km to go so it will be no problem.

When I go down a hill and already see the lights of the city the engine stops. Petrol finished. I read in the guidebook it will be no problem if anything like this happens and in fact they wrote exactly: “If you run out of petrol people will help you within minutes.” Well I believe they would do so in all the countries I crossed yet but here it is dark and very cold. I don’t want to stand out there waiting for help – not even for minutes! In the same moment I see a petrol station and as we are going down the hill nearly 100km/h I roll out exactly in front of the petrol pipe. Nobody asks for ration card. I tell them to make full and pay half a million for 65 liters of petrol. So the second petrol station after the border takes little more than 50c/l! NICE! I like Iran! I quickly drink a chai and go on to the city.

I use the map from the guidebook and find the hotel they suggest immediately. Lonely planet proves to be very helpful again. Quarter million for one night sounds expensive so I check the other hotels around. But they are only little cheaper and some of them have no hot water and no internet. So I take the one lonely planet suggest and pay 15€ for a nice warm room with (loads of) hot water, breakfast, locked carpark and internet in the lobby. A fair price in fact.

So I am in Iran now! Feels very nice here and people are incredibly friendly. I can´t wait to see this all in daylight. I put my stuff in the room have an expensive and awful pizza at one of the only restaurants still open past 8 and go back to the room to have a real hot shower (remember? In the last hamam no real hot water possible…) and write todays experiences down and take a look at the pictures I made when driving. Now I am only curious how Internet will work here…. Youtube? Facebook? Speed? We will see…..

Haha that was funny. I go to the lobby and get a cable to connect to the internet but it doesn’t work. I try for ten minutes to find out what the problem is until the younger guy comes back telling me “Sir in Iran no Internet 7pm to 7am”… so I will post tomorrow morning and as long as I am in Iran there will be no postings possible 4:30pm to 4:30am cet. So probably updates will come rather in the morning when I am in Iran.

By the way facebook and youtube are not possible here so no videoupdates for now.