Orumiyeh – Kannca

11.4.2013

Km counter: 41640 today: 419 sum: 6522

N37°33’59” E045°03’40” – N38°17’37” E041°59’43” – google doesnt allow to cross sero border so its the more south route of what you see at that link.

Early in the morning somebody is knocking at the window again. I block whatever and he asks me to move a little. Its cold anyway so I move to the sun and sleep another hour. Last night it started to smell like petrol inside because the waste water tank is connected to the inside by tubes of course. I blocked them but obviously not enough. At night I blocked the sink with a candle and some wax so the smell is gone by now. I just but toothpaste and brush in the sink to cover the candle – looks fine to me, even if they really search me they wont look below the toothbrush I guess. I clean all the car and then make a walk to the money changer. I don’t find anyone who wants to change euro – they all want dollars! Its crazy, but they don’t want tourist euro, they prefer terrorist dollar! However I meet Mr. Hossein about whom I had read already in a blog. He helps me to find a place to change my cash to Lira and then I show him suryananda. When he leaves he tells me there will be no problems at the border but that I am not allowed to take more petrol than in the original tank…. Well…

I leave Orumiyeh around ten o clock and less than an hour later I am at the border. I stopped five km before at the petrol station so I am carrying a total of nearly 130l in the original tank, the waste water tank and the spare tanks in the back… Iranian side is quickly. They stamp carnet and passport and then I drive to the gate. Even before I cross the line I already see the looks of the customs officers. I cross the line and they direct me directly to a hall to examine me and suryananda closer. Damn! Its like always two guys – a nice one and a bad one. I don’t care and try to be friendly to both of them.

They look inside the doors, inside the upper closets and all the obvious places everybody looks. The “bad guy” tells me that he believes that I smoke hashish. I tell him I don’t take any drugs and that believing without prove is a bad thing. We had a discussion about religion when he was checking my books so I tell him that first people start to believe (like I have hashish) then their believing becomes obsession (like searching my car for drugs for an hour without finding anything to prove I consume such) and they lose their view for the real things (like 60 fucking liter of petrol!). And I tell him to get dogs or an x ray of my car. He doesn’t believe but he says they have neither at the moment. The good guy is pleased after 45 minutes but the bad guy doesn’t believe that I have nothing on me and keeps searching. After half an hour more (in which he stopped being the bad guy – its hard to keep that up when searching suryananda finding mostly instruments, massage stuff, yoga and religious books like Koran, bhagavad gita…) he gives up too and I go to get my visa.

Again this takes time and while I am sitting with a police officer filling the forms the “bad guy” appears again telling me they want to check us again. Now they will find the petrol, I think, I am fucked! Again I drive suryananda into the hall and now more customs officers appear and search. They are too sure I have something – they believe to KNOW it. Now there is not only 4 guys in uniform who are searching me but two more with suits and ties who are just standing around doing nothing probably waiting for the press to come to take pictures of them with the tons of dope they believe I have.

The good guy from before is not here anymore. They search again the same half of the car they had already searched before, with the same result of course. They start to like me in a way and take pictures of me and suryananda even though it is obvious we will never be friends. But I don’t have nothing of what they are searching for so what to do? At the end we all smile at each other and shake hands when saying goodbye. Some of them even tell me they are sorry for searching (but “its my job” – so learn something decent, idiot!, I think).

After nearly three hours searching now they tell me they believe me – there is nothing! I have difficulties to keep calm at that moment. I kept calm and friendly the last three hours playing that stupid game but know as I have won I star shaking a little. The “bad guy” looks at me and asks if I need insulin so I agree. He wants to watch me injecting as he has never seen this before…. Nevermind. Finally I proceed to the gate to turkey where the officer refuses to let me in because suryananda is not marked in my passport! DAMN! Back again! I take all the papers I need and go back to the customs office. Its totally different guys so I don’t see any of the ones who where there for searching me again. The officer tells me there is a problem blablabla. I don’t get it! He tells me that suryananda seems to be still in turkey! I remember them having a computer problem when I left turkey so probably the information about us leaving got lost. I am already afraid about the same thing like at the Indian border but then an old guy in a “Narkotiks” jacket shows up and helps me solving the problem within ten minutes. He is probably the one who is responsible for the long search as the “bad guy” told me several times that it was for sure not his idea to search me again. 20 minutes later I am on the road to Baskale.

Soon its getting dark. I buy 20l more petrol from a smuggler so I have enough petrol for three days at least. 150km further than Adana. We climb up the highest mountain pass of our journey at 2770 when its dark already. Going down I take a chai at a place I stood a night last time. Even though it’s a tiny village I see nobody I know and nobody seems to remember me.

Kurdistan is similar to Baluchistan only I have no escort here so the police treats me more or less like a terrorist. I am stopped five more times tonight with them sometimes being polite (police) and sometimes just jumping inside suryananda and making a mess and shouting at me (military). In Iran I would shout back at them and fuck them, they have another understanding of hospitality there. But here it is different – not that turks (military and police is not the kurds) are not hospitable but here they are under high tension. Like in Balochistan the police here has forts with tanks, machine gun towers and km of barbed wire around the forts. Traffic controls are made by at least 6 officers 4 of them having kalaschnikovs – in the villages there are watchtowers with machine guns pointed out at the people who live there! By the police! And if they do exist I believe they have been used in the past and might be used in future. The police here does not feel like police like I know it – It appears much more like they are invaders controlling a foreign country. Same story like in Baluchistan. (And to be honest – road condition is same like in Baluchistan too, but like in the Pakistan part of Baluchistan) At one point my sd card is full and I stop for a moment to move the pictures to the computer. Just to recognize at one of the searches they broke the screen of the computer. I am pissed now – this might be the end of the blog, the end of the pictures… I decide to go to Adana as fast as possible and try to fix it there before I give up. After the fifth police check I give up driving tonight and stop at the next petrol station car park. It’s a nice place in the mountains and I fall asleep within seconds. It was an exhausting day!

Highway – Orumiyeh

10.4.2013

Km counter: 41219 today: 354 sum: 6103

N37°08’52” E047°23’29” – N37°33’59” E045°03’40”

The place where I wake up is really disgusting. It’s a shame in this beautiful surrounding. The problem is to find the nice spots at night when u don’t see the small sideways between the hills. But what to do I can’t wait to get to the beach in turkey so I want to keep driving. Until Tabriz the landscape is amazing and I enjoy the road a lot.

A few kilometer after Tabriz on the way to Orumiyeh I visit some old friends of mine. On the way to india I had a big problem with my engine so I stood at their workshop for a few days. It’s a nice place actually and if you face any problems with your car around Tabriz its in my opinion THE place to go. The Guys don’t speak English but communication by hand, feet and drawing works really well. Here is the gps coordinates of the place: N37°51’32.9” E045°56’37.8” – if u visit them tell them all the best from HariOm please. This year I have no problem at all – a larger petrol tank would be nice as I get 12l here for the price of one in turkey. We decide to use the waste water tank. No connection with the engine tank as this is to complicated after thinking about several ways to do it. However it will work – its 40l extra. Around 70 I have in the regular tank and if I put 20l in the four big tanks on the back it should not be too obvious. This would give me a little more than 1000km in turkey. By the way I spent exactly 100 euro crossing all Iran (excluding visa fee) plus I came here with maybe 5 l petrol. Now, 2600km and 100 euro later I have 130l petrol – crazy! It’s like earning money by driving. After hiding the petrol we have chai, food and of course I make music. One of the guys even has a video of me making music last year on his cell phone. And…. Everybody can not only remember me but knows my name! I love you guys! Thank you! I will be back!
Much too early, a little before sunset I leave to Orumiyeh, the last town before the border where I want to change money and then cross the border as soon as possible. On the way there a police car overtakes and a nice looking guy gives me a salutation. A few hundred meter later they stand on the side of the road and stop me. Like once an hour they do just to say hello…. But this time it is different. Not the funny guy but his partner is checking me. He wants to see all the papers, look inside until he sees the broken side mirror on the right side. We can’t communicate at all but its easy to understand that this is a problem. He wants 1.000.000.- Rial fine! That’s about 25euro but I just have the money for 60 more liter petrol left which is not even half of what he wants. He is not accepting euros of course and the next city is far so he threatens to take my passport to make me change the money and come to the police station. He wants dollar all the time and I tell him many times I am no American. After all he wants to see how much money I have so I show him my rial storage and he takes half of it ripping the fine paper apart. I make a face at his partner showing that I need food and petrol before crossing the border. At the end they give me my money back and tell me to fix the mirror. Its almost dark when I go on. In Orumiyeh I don’t find a suitable petrol station to sleep so I find a tiny side street of a small side street Where I decide to stay. Should be ok I think when I stop in the lonely street and go back to close the windows and prepare my bed. Half the way done somebody is knocking at the car. Police. But this time the nice guy. “Welcome to beautiful city of Orumiyeh blablabla”… he speaks for five minutes before he recognizes I don’t understand one word. However I am welcome…. Another half an hour later the cops knock again. One guy on a motorbike taking the close look wanting to look inside and so on. I give him a smile and tell him I want to sleep so a second later he smiles back gives me my papers and goes.

Baharestan – Highway

9.4.2013

Km counter: 40865 today: 734 sum: 5749

N32°28’22” E051°47’31” – N37°08’52” E047°23’29”

I spend two very lazy days in Esfahan with Sara and Farzad mostly eating and sleeping. Relax! I have done half of the way, and the one half with the better roads is to come. I deserve a break. This time no problem with the car, I just charge the battery – of course it is raining in Esfahan! On leaving day we wake up early and are all busy because Sara and Farzad have to go to work and I want to leave as soon as possible. First time (shame on me) I check oil, water and stuff and all is fine. I clean the desert dust on the solar panels and hit the road. A few kilometers after Esfahan a crowd of young people sound their horn, wave their hands and keep circling around us taking pictures. Not as if this was unusual but these people rolled down their window to invite me for breakfast. I don’t hesitate and agree, they clap their hands and hit the gas – I never see them again….

Anyway I wanted to make kilometers today. The road is great all day and nothing special happens. I find a shortcut I failed to find on the way down so I stop only 180km before Tabriz at night. I get some food at a petrol station and instead of finding a more romantic place as planned fall asleep immediately. Well after 734 km at an average far below 70 this is okay I guess.

Desert – Baharestan

6.4.2013

Km counter: 40131 today: 416 sum: 5015

N31°16’05” E054°53’09” – N32°28’22” E051°47’31” (google refuses to display the right route – the ardakan bypass does not exist so I went more or less through town of course)

I wake up because of the wind shaking suryananda and the rain hitting against the windows… Yeah, right I’m still in the desert! However its cold outside so I quickly clean myself and the car to be on the road twenty minutes later. The rain stops and the wind gets better so its ok to drive. After two more border like checkpoints for all vehicles moving north a little before Yazd and around fifteen kilometers before Naein I turn left and head towards Esfahan. One more time we go up from 1500 to 2400 meter above sea level. Exactly at the peak of 2407 the kilometer counter switches to 40000. 150km later I arrive in Baharestan (which is just around the corner of Esfahan) early afternoon. Farzad, Sara and I are very happy to see each other again. We have many stories to tell enjoy very good Iranian food and I can update the blog for the first time since leaving Quetta. For the first time of my journey I see no swallows in Esfahan so it seems like I am a little ahead of them now. Anyway I will take a rest here for one or two days so they might catch up. I can charge the big battery here too as there has been no sun to charge it the last days. I did a little more than 5000km since Pushkar now which means I did half of the way. The road condition is better on the second half so I will probably be in Austria soon. About half of the way from here to Austria there is a beautiful coastroad from Ardana to Antalya – a detour of 400km but I think about taking a kind of break there and do the 400 maybe in a few days and relax some time at the beach. I am little tight with my budget by now and in turkey petrol is kind of expensive at 2,10 per liter which means I make 400km on exactly 100 euro…. Well we will see for now I relax in Iran and as I am hopeful to spend less than 100 euro to cross all Iran (2500km, including petrol, food, roadtax,…) I might be able to afford this one.

Golbaf – Desert

5.4.2013

Km counter: 39715 today: 489 sum: 4597

N29°53’26” E058°43’45” – N31°16’05” E054°53’09”

At 8 a.m. a police officer knocks at my window asking me what I do here. “Sleeping” I reply, “I need petrol and no one was here”. We agree that I get petrol and disappear as soon as possible. I wake up at an elevation of 1700 above sea level and now climb up (again) to 2200m. The weather is bad, very cloudy so no power for the music at the moment and the light for to make pictures is bad too.

The road is up and down sometimes going up (or down) more than 500m within 4km. That’s an average of more than 12%! After 2200m we go down again to 1700, up to 2350 and down to 1650. One last hill to 1775 and then down to the Kaluts (check out the satellite pictures at the google maps link – its east of “B”) at 330m above sealevel. I plan to stay there for maybe one night to relax from all this escort shit but when I arrive there its around 35° and very humid because of the clouds. I thought I will get some food at the desert camp which is not the case and going back to the village for shopping seems not to be attractive. The place is nice but I liked the mountains better so I go back to the mountains and take the road to Kerman then.

We start at the Kaluts at 330m above sea level now. The wind is getting stronger and when we are on the road a sand storm is about to start. 50km later we are at an elevation of pretty exactly 1330m and it starts to rain. 75km away from the desert camp we are at 2500m and climbing, its raining cats and dogs. 80km away from the sandstorm in the Kaluts we are at the top of the pass road – 2690m and I see a snowstorm in the mountains above me! 80km, less than 3 hours driving and a sandstorm in the heat of the desert and then a snowstorm up in the mountains! Where else is this possible but in Iran? By the way I made some nice videos today (like every day) which I will put online as soon as I am home!

Suryananda is the hero of the day doing all this with no complaint! We go down to the central Iranian plateau at around 1700 and then go back on the highway direction Yazd/Esfahan. Its still raining and a stiff wind blows towards me making it impossible to go faster than 50. Even though its flat it feels like we go up a mountain. At sunset wind stops and for minutes I can see the sun. 2 hours later I stop at a petrol station and a restaurant at the highway. I get incredibly cheap food and go to bed. I miss spices! Tomorrow I will meet Farzad and Sara whom I met last year at their home near Esfahan. Relax!


Taftan – Golbaf

4.4.2013

Km counter: 39224 today: 550 sum: 4108

N28°58’34” E061°33’14” – N29°53’26” E057°43’45”

When I get up I have chai and sing a few songs first. No hurry the Levies here are nice guys and I expect that not to get better on the other side of the border. I go to the shop, with escort of course, to spend my last few rupees and after cross the border. Pakistani side I only need the stamp in the passport which I get in a minute so I continue to the Iranian side. They direct me to the front of the office building, take carnet and passport and tell me to wait. Less than an hour later the guy who took the papers comes back with an army guy and tells me the army guy is my escort – that’s it! They don’t even ask for Alcohol or whatever illegal stuff somebody could bring from Pakistan…. I get 20l, at 1000 Toman per liter expensive petrol (1euro is 4260 Toman) and on we go to Zahedan which is 55km away. On the way there we stop once to change the escort. I wait approximately an hour and then two guys come to sit next to me until Zahedan.

They direct me into town and I have to stop at a roundabout where I already had been waiting for a long time when I was here last time. Again I wait more than an hour until a police car comes to take me to the next roundabout where I am supposed to wait again. They still have passport and carnet so what to do? I lock the car and take a walk through the city. The police man tries to tell me I am not allowed to go anywhere without escort and I tell him I don’t want to sit in the heat in the car for anpther hour to wait to be taken to the next roundabout… My walk makes him work a little faster so the next police car comes within a little less than an hour to take me… to the next roundabout. Again my papers change hands, again some of it is copied by hand. After that I tell the guy to give me my papers and he is confused enough for a moment to do it. I straightly go back to the car and tell the guy I will leave in 5 minutes. After exactly five minutes the next police car comes to take me…. You guessed it right but this time I don’t stop.

My navigation system tells me the way and I go direction Highway to Bam. Police follows me and asks me to stop on the highway as the escort will be here in 5 minutes. Again I tell him I will wait for exactly five minutes and again the escort comes exactly after five minutes. They ask me to hand out my passport but I refuse to do so as I know I will not see it again until I am in Bam and they will let me wait as they like. We shout at each other for a moment and then he threatens to take me to the police station because I refuse to prove my ID. What to do…. I give him the passport. He goes to his car and wants to start but I don’t go to mine. When he comes back I tell him I will not go nowhere if the passport is not in my car. He sends a (very) young guy with a kalaschnikow to sit next to me and take care of my passport and the Taliban. I feel sorry for the guy and need petrol soon so I accept the solution but make up my mind about my tactics on the 400km to come before the escort will end in Bam.

The idea to keep my passport in my car by taking a soldier with me works out. In the confidence of having control because having my passport the third guy who sits next to me starts to give me orders. The first one or two I obey but then start to ignore him. At the next guard change he tells me to stop. I tell him to give me my passport passing the police station not reducing speed at all. Again he tells me to stop. I get more slowly and tell him to give him my passport and while he starts searching in his pockets I stop the car around 500m passed the police station in the desert. When I stop he stops searching and tells me to turn. Again I accelerate and hit the road. I tell him he can either jump out of the driving car with my passport, give me my passport and we go back or stay in the car until the petrol is finished which will be the case in about 450km. He chooses the second one and we go back. I hand out my passport again getting the promise to get it back before leaving but the officer hands it to the next soldier.

I feel sorry for him already now so I give him a chance and tell him to hand out my passport which he refuses. I go back to the car very fast and the engine is running before he is there. When he has one foot inside the car I go and before he is sitting properly on his seat he finds us on the wrong side of the street with a bus coming towards us pretty fast. I see his wide eyes and tell him again to give me my passport. He refuses for less than a minute and then I have my passport back. Sorry to the bus driver and the two truck drivers but I indicated on which side I will go so it should not have been too much of a problem for them…

Late at night we arrive in Bam, the escort at my side in another car and the passport in my pocket. I get some food at a restaurant while police is waiting outside. I ask them what they are waiting for and they call somebody who speaks English. He is telling me that the escort is finished and they just want to make sure I don’t sleep in front of the restaurant because this is directly at the Highway and dangerous…. I tell him I will relax a little and leave after half an hour. You make me wait I make you wait I think, and I really need to relax after all day driving. Around 11 p.m. I leave with the police guiding me to the next roundabout showing me the way to Kerman, where I told them I want to go. I hit the road! Finally free! (I believe).

A few chai shops later I reduce speed thinking about having another chai to celebrate freedom after more than 1000km stupid guards around me avoiding me having any contact with the local people. In that moment a plain white car shows up next to me with two guys waving their arms like crazy. Ok, we are in Balochistan, it is in the middle of the night somewhere in the desert…. I don’t stop asking myself if these guys are drunk idiots (not very probable in Iran) or fucking police. I go 50km an hour with them only meters behind me for a few kilometers. Then I make a pretty sharp brake and go on driving 30. Soon they turn up next to me and tell me they are police and I should move on. Damn! No freedom, I think and think about a tactics to get rid of them. I continue going not faster than 50 annoying them a lot. After the next guard change we go steep up a mountain. The police car has changed to an official one which is easy to spot in the mirror for the red flash light. On the steep road I reduce speed to 30, after 20 minutes the red lights disappear around 130km before Kerman. I keep on going and after 20 minutes I see the flashlight again but disappearing then. So they just checked if I don’t park on the roadside as soon as they are gone and then went home to sleep.

We are at an elevation of 2400m by now and it is too cold here to sleep anyway. Soon a side road to the Kaluts appears. An amazing desert recommended by friends and travel guides. I take the side road but being very tired already I think about finding a place where to sleep. After the escort I get a little paranoid and think about the place a long time. I’d like a place not to much hidden and not too much jumping in every ones eye. I am lucky to find a petrol station in a the small town of Gobalf at 1700m above sea level. Directly at the main road with a dark corner for me. I fall asleep at 3.30 a.m. only minutes after turning of the engine.

Only 2 pictures today, sorry I was not in the mood to take too many….

Mijaveh – Nokkundi (Pakistan)

[28°50´63”, 062°44´27.5”]

Km today: 137

We stand up early and have breakfast to be ready at eight when escort service is supposed to pick us up. Half past eight still nobody here so we decide to get petrol. While the others go to petrol station I quickly go to a shop and five minutes later we meet at the petrol station. Police has seen me so soon an officer comes to the petrol station to pick us up. We have a short discussion about the diesel price but soon the problem is solved and half an hour later we are at the border.

Crossing the border takes nearly all day. Money changers everywhere but we get the best rate at the bank next to the police station. We are escorted there from the border and after we still have to get our carnets stamped at the custom office. It gets warmer – I change my winter onion style dress to dothi and t shirt. Finally we leave the border direction Quetta.

A cute old military guy is our escort and he is sitting with me in the car all the way. We have fun listening to music and I find out hindi and urdu are really pretty similar. He understands me when I speak hindi! Unfortunately I understand only little of his urdu but still enough for basic conversation. Few police checkpoints and our escort stays the same – not like in iran waiting every time, guys don´t take our passports and not even want to see them. We just have to register our names when we pass a checkpointand that’s it.

At one checkpoint our escort hands over his AK47 to us so we make loads of great pictures in martial poses. Just before sunset we approach Nokkundi and pass the gate of the police station where we spend the night at the moment the sun sets. I hurry to the rooftop to take a few pictures of the disappearing sun and find out this village is really beautiful!

I ask the chief of police if I can make a little walk and he replies “no problem”. As the sun has set this very moment I ask again about safety and he tells me in this village no problem. When taking pictures I meet a few boys and soon I get invited to have chai. I think I should go back as it is getting dark but there is a police officer at the place I am invited to. He calls the police station to tell I am here and he “protects” me. So I stay for chai and make contact with many very nice people in this place. Soon another police officer comes from the place where we stay to pick me up. I quickly finish my chai and we go back by motorbike. The chief officer is a little nervous because I was out alone after dark…. I really don´t understand but apologize many times because he is a really nice guy and I don´t want to cause him any troubles. Probably some kind of misunderstanding.

Later Roberto and Marianna cook their famous pasta again – even better than last time! Our escort on the way told me dhal, sabji samosa milega! (possible) “Kaha” (where) I think but the pasta is too good to think about it any further. Before going to bed I visit the rooftop again. The stars and the moon are amazing out here in the dessert!

December 7. Bam – Mijaveh (Balochistan)

[29°01`07.4”, 061°27´04.3”]

Km today: 398

Today it happened…. Somebody (no Crewmember) told me I can´t do that. Everybody who knows me knows my reaction when somebody tells me things like that – I have to find out if this is true….. But read all day stories from the beginning:

We leave Bam around half past six in the morning and the first 200km are like nothing! We make a great team on the road even though I am not nearly as fast as the others. We have been told we will get police escort starting in Bam so we tried to avoid this by leaving at a time when police is still sleeping – successful. Short after the police checkpoint we stop at a petrol station and take as much petrol as possible. Even the water bottles are being filled with petrol. We go down to 400m (first time below 1000 since Kappadokia) and then up again. Landscape is incredibly beautiful and soon after we have a break at 400m we climb up the mountains again. I am very slow so all the others wait for me on the top of the mountain at around 1500 m above sealevel. I pass them and next there is a very nice downhill road so I go up to 100!

Unfortunately a few kilometers later there is a police checkpoint so I have to stop. The others are far behind me now so I stop and wait until they arrive. We have to take escort here – no chance not to do it. One police car drives in front of us and so we go on. Police car is driving much faster than I can so soon I am driving lonely on the road – what to do? A few kilometers later I see them all standing on the roadside. I think they have been waiting for me again and want to pass but police guys stop me – we have to wait for the next escort. Waiting always takes a little but as we are close to Zahedan already when getting the first escort we arrive there around 12 o clock.

Today many guys carrying an AK 47 sit next to me in the car – they are all very nice but I don’t like arms inside my hippiebus. Border is only 70km to go and opened until 4 pm so we decide to take the border today. But then in the “city” of Zahedan escort changes approximately 5 times and every time we have to wait at least for half an hour. Driving at night is not recommended in Balochistan and we have been told police will stop us in the evening. Anyway we leave to the border city (Mijahve in Iran) shortly before sunset (of course with police – they took our passports at the first checkpoint) and arrive there when it is already dark. Needless to say the border is closed already.

In Zahedan we told the police guys several times we need petrol – they kept saying “yes” but obviously they don’t want to go to a petrol station – every time we hear the next escort will take us there…. So as soon as I see the first petrolstation in Mijahve I stop there. All the others appreciate my decision so we fill up with petrol. Diesel is unfortunately finished today. (Well I still have a drill machine with me for worst case….)

Next the police brings us directly to the (governmental) hotel and hands the passports to the guy at the reception. I want to have mine as I haven’t seen a room, don’t know any price and it would be a bad situation for negotiations if they already have my passport. Policeguy pretends to give it to me two times but pulls back when I want to grab it. Now I am pissed. I go outside, take my stick from the car (to protect myself – we are in Balochistan and it is not allowed to leave the hotel without police) and go to the market to buy some stuff to eat – alone.

I already told the police several times I have to go to a shop but they were ignoring me and I am hungry. No good idea to play games with me when I am hungry AND tired. I go to the market and find out people here are even more friendly than before in Iran. Probably they are little curious too because I am on my way without guard. I buy what I need and go back to the hotel where four police guys go crazy searching for me. I give them a smile and then ignore them. Minutes later one of them wants money from me for the escort. I tell him to give him money as soon as I have my passport. He tells me I get tomorrow so I reply he will get money tomorrow. Seconds later he gives up and leaves without money – mashallah.

The guy at the reception tells me it is 150.000 rial for the parking – which is 8€ for one night, even in Topkapi in Istanbul I paid less and a room costs 200.000 rial. I am ready to pay 50.000 but his lowest offer is 100.000.- so I tell him I park outside the hotel on the street and sleep there. He says this is not possible / not allowed and threatens to call police. I have to yawn not only because I am tired but because I have heard this too many times all over the world. I start suryananda and out we drive to park 5 meters next to the hotel entrance while hotel guys are walking around in the garden using their cell phones.

Five minutes later they tell Adam my windows will be broken and my petrol stolen at night while I make contact to some very nice young guys outside. All of us know this is just another story to make me drive back inside so I don´t care at all – obviously police is already tired discussing with me – they don´t come. I am glad the others are pretty neutral but share my thoughts. To be honest I have the feeling we only get the escorts here to keep foreigners (and their money) far away from balochi people. Vienna feels much more dangerous even though even boys carry AK 47 here. However the first day driving/riding in a group was really amazing. We had great fun all day and enjoyed a lot. All of us made many pictures and movies all day so I can hardly wait to see and share them. Tomorrow we will be in Pakistan and as we know how to handle the escort service now I am sure it will be a wonderful day! I can´t wait to get Samosa, Byriani and REAL chai with masala and milk there!

I love this area and I love the people here. In the evening a beggar came to us when we were smoking in front of the hotel. Looking clean and just standing there for a minute not bothering us at all. I am happy I didn’t use my last rials for parking and give him a little money and offer a cigarette. He looks up to the sky puts his hand on his heart and is happy. After we all ate (I ate in the car the others at the hotel) I meet Marianna and Roberto in front of the hotel. I offer chai and quickly go back to get some. When I am back at the hotel to bring it they all sit inside so I bring the chai there and sit down at their table.

A minute later the hotel manager comes and gives a cup to each of us (including me) and offers tea too. I take this as an offer for peace (even though I know this is my very European way of thinking about things like this) and accept I am very close to india already. People here are like this they try what is possible and once they know how far they can go they make friends without being angry about what happened. It´s part of the game and that’s why I love india so much. It is possible to argue with people and as soon as it is done it is really done and nobody thinks of it anymore.

I like Balochistan and Iran a lot! It´s one of the best countries I have ever been travelling. People, hospitality, landscape, nature and historical places are not to be described by words in this country! Later the manager comes to knock at the car and tells me to drive in – 50.000.- is accepted. Acha people here really know how to bargain – it was my pleasure! (even though I don’t like this style – neither mine in that case nor theirs)

When I came to Iran this was my first sentence online and so it will be the last: Forget all you believe to know about this country. – It´s amazing!

December 6. Bam

Km today: 0

Alarm wakes me up in the morning and I quickly prepare myself and the room for yogaclass. The Iranian couple is already waiting and the bikers come just in time to join so we are 6 people who do yoga together this morning. A great experience for me teaching people from so many countries again. They all perform great and after we all are full of energy so we fix our vehicles (I clean suryananda inside again) and after I take a walk to the castle with Tanja, Damon and Brian (the motorbikers). This time we walk up into the restricted area of the castle. We enjoy the great view until guards are coming shouting “fine! fine!” – “yes very fine – awesome in fact” we reply and go down again with the guards taking care. We don’t hurry and still take a lot pictures on the way down – no problem. We go back by taxi and I give Reiki and little massage to tanja in suryananda. We decide to leave at 6 o clock tomorrow morning. Spaghetti are best and soon I go to bed to get some sleep tonight. A very relaxing and nice day!

December 5. Bam – a day at the caravanserei

Km today: 0

I sleep long and have nice breakfast with Justin and Adam in the morning. A little later Kira arrives too, She knows the guys from Kerman and is from Canada too. A very cute girl working in a national park in Canada 6 months a year and the rest of the time she is travelling. She has all my respect for travelling Persia on her own by public transport. A little later when I sit with Justin in suryananda three motorcycles arrive. More overlanders! Yeah! Its two guys and one girl from Netherlands, Australia and newzealand (if I remember right). They want to leave tomorrow morning too so we decide to share the police escort we will be having from now on until Quetta.

Later Justin, Adam and I go to the festival in the center that is happening today. Hundreds of guys are beating themselves with chains and the women sit around making a sad face. We can´t decide if its more painfull to listen to the music which is broadcastet in big speaker all over the streets or to beat yourself with chains. Anyway after we are asked for your passport (we have already been searched for weapons on our way there) we decide to leave soon. Not because none of us has his passport with him but because of the “music”. On the way home we are lucky enough to find a shop that is open so we buy some (junk)food and soon are back at Akbars guesthouse.

Minutes after we come back Marianna and her friend Roberto from Italy arrive. Soon most of the guests sit together in the warm community room and as all are pretty hungry I suggest to cook. We buy some vegetables and soon four of us are cooking in and around suryananda. While the food is cooking I make little sound massage for all in the community room so the time until we can eat passes sooner. I offer Yoga lesson tomorrow morning too and many people want to come! All people really like the food I cooked. I get invited by an Iranian girl who stays here too. She lives near Esfahan and wants me to come on the way back! I will love to visit her and her husband there! Food is really great and I enjoy a lot to share with so many people. Marianna tells me they have seen suryananda in Istanbul already – probably when I was in Vienna….

In the evening I give little Reiki to Adam and after we are finished Justin joins us so the three of us sit a little together in suryananda. This evening all the 8 people who stay here and go to Pakistan decided to stay one more day so we will all go to Quetta together on December 8. 3 cars and 3 motorbikes! I miss my Bullet! But we will get Pasta tomorrow cooked by professionals so I don’t mind the delay at all! The food and the people here are really great! I only have to be careful as so much attention like I get here is feeding my ego – Yoga tomorrow will be perfect antidote for this!