Take The Wrong Way Home, Iran 2017

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Harti, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile

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    Wonderful report! You've now put it on my list...and it's quite near the top.

    You mentioned making some comments regarding pollution? Do you find the ubiquitous plastic water bottle trash everywhere that has become so commonplace in developing countries? It's so disappointing.
  2. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Great report and ride. I miss my HP2...
  3. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    Let me highlight some aspects of this trip I haven't talked about in detail...

    Traffic:

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    20,000 people die in Iran every year.

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    A traffic pattern is not recognizable. Here we see 4 clearly marked lanes and 7 cars next to each other in a merging zone... Imagine yourself down there trying to keep up your head...

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    The standards of the roads vary from excellent to poor. Anyone can use any road.

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    Traffic jams happen because everyone wants to pass a bottleneck at the same time...

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    They pass whenever they feel like it and not necessarily when safely possible.

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    The strongest and fastest has the right of way. Always.

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    This truck driver doesn't care about us, he probably didn't even notice us. We have to escape to the soft shoulder...

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    In their ignorance they often overestimate their own capabilities.

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    No lights.

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    No distance kept to the car in front of you...

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    Random livestock behaviour...

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    The technical standard of the trucks is often zero to none. These trucks are about 40 years old and compete with most modern luxury busses as tourism has increased in the past few years...

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    Often the load is not properly secured or trucks are badly overloaded...

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    To cross a road as a pedestrian is a receipe for desaster. No one will ever stop for you on a voluntary base. One exception: as a bike rider with a beast like ours we had the moment of surprise on your side. The Iranian hell drivers rather accept to be distracted by us than persue their happyness by cutting us off or forcing us down the ditch...

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    "They are all out there to kill us". Never had a saying more validity than in Iran. The nicest people when it comes to hospitality, help and support, but potential murderers when it comes to traffic and political controversy (Irak, Israel, USA...).

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    They stop wherever they are at the moment, not realizing that they clog up traffic behind them... a snapshot or a selfie with us is way more important.

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    Police is everywhere, but is helpless to bad traffic behaviour.

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    Many people have not enough money for a qualified repair. So they fiddle around with most delicate components of the car like ABS or steering.

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    That often ends in a desaster...

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    Police in Armenia often overrides traffic lights, just to increase the chaos they provoked...

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    The worst drivers can be found in Georgia. If you don't protect your car with a rock solid crash bar, you have no chance. In no time your car will look as seen above... Isn't it interesting, that Mercedes' got so much more often involved in accidents? What does it tell about the drivers?

    Tomorrow: environment, pollution and tidiness.
    chudzikb, yamalama, Ccceric and 4 others like this.
  4. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    I see some similarities between traffic patterns in Iran and those in Central America, particularly Honduras and Guatemala, and also Athens, Greece, especially in the Kolonaki neighborhood.
  5. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    You are right. Poor economy and the need to be mobile are the main reasons for all third world countries to neglect safety standards and costly driving education. And to grease the whole system there is always room for a nice little bribe...
    Parcero likes this.
  6. Flying D

    Flying D n00b

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    This looks amazing !! I'm looking forward to reading this while it's snowing out and I long to be on the road...
  7. Flying D

    Flying D n00b

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    Thank you so much for including us on your wonderful adventure:clap
  8. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    "How do you like Iran?" Being asked that at least a dozen times every day my politicly correct answer is always "good" or "excellent" or "you can be proud of your country" or whatever you say usually in a situation like this. But time and again I was tempted to tell the truth: " Keep your country clean, then I like it even better..."

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    This is not a city dump. It's a normal street just outside of a little town.

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    Lois Pryce, the motorcycle lady, who also went to Iran on a bike, wrote in her book, that in the beginning she was confused about her observation, that Iranians sit next to their car and hang out there... She thought they had a break down with their vehicle, a flat tire maybe... but it was all about a simple picknick. Nobody is impressed by the junk they rest in and nobody cleans up after himself...

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    The leftovers of the massive oil drilling in Azerbaijan look extremely disturbing. This land will be uninhabitable for decades...

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    The beaches at the Caspian Sea are often trashed up. I wouldn't like to relax there with my family and have to fear that a foot of my kid gets spiked by a broken bottle...

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    That's a service station and a workshop for luxury cars. Inside it might look great and representable, outside it looks shabby. Who cares...

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    There are signs of improvement...

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    As Steve (#141) pointed out further up, if we could get rid of plastic bottles and bags, we might have a chance...

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    Some 13,000 people die in Teheran every year of pollution, depending on which source you ask. We have our diesel gate in Germany with Volkswagen leading the bunch of cheaters. But that is nothing compared to the majority of the third world countries. Don't get me wrong... I really don't want to trivialize the fact that this planet is fricking dirty and we are the greatest polluters of 'em all...

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    Living in Delhi, Beijing or Teheran must be horrible...

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    Sometimes the air was so filled with diesel fumes, I feared my engine would just stall by the lack of oxygen...

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    Tomorrow: Food and lifestyle.
    BigDogRaven, jmcg, chudzikb and 4 others like this.
  9. StinkyCheese

    StinkyCheese Red or Green?

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    Really enjoyed this RR. It's a part of the globe I'd love to visit but probably will never get to. Thanks for giving me a quick glimpse! :clap:clap:clap:clap
    stilcrazee likes this.
  10. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    Hi folks,

    I had to separate the food section from the lifestyle chapter, because it took much more room than I expected...


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    If you have money, you can get in Tbilisi pretty much anything you want. Even 25 different blends of coffee...

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    And if you need a tooth job, Tbilisi is the place to go...

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    Supermarkets are as modern as in our neck of the woods.

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    Same with the subway. Modern, clean and in time.

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    Literature can be heard at audio book stations in the park...

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    This undertaker advertises 24/7 for his service...

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    Several times we got invited for tea by random bystanders, who took hospitality to a totally new level. Or have you been invited for coffee or tea by a total stranger in your country? Ever...?

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    If you have even more money, Baku is the place to go.

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    I had the feeling, some people don't even know what to do with their wealth. One night we saw two Bentley's parked in front of a fast food joint...

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    The digital traffic signs are highly advanced...

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    In Iran a lot of women still favor the traditional look.

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    But western fashion finds its way into modern Iranian society.

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    Money is not a factor. Taste, if anything...

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    Movies usually come from Bollywood.

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    People wanna have fun...

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    ATM's are scattered all over the place. But you can get only Iranian Rial.

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    Public health is important.

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    This is my favorite...

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    After yesterdays "bashing" about trashing up their environment, here is an example for something going into the right direction.

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    ... I know... here is my number 1-800-fashion-911...

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    Modern art in a cafe...

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    Happy hour in a park...

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    In Yerevan I liked to see that they take care of the children while their parents went shopping.

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    Let's not forget: there are still many poor people around, who are less fortunate...

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    And also: the entire region, Caucasus and Iran, is extremely active, when it comes to earthquakes and tectonic destruction. A fear, you guys in California are also very familiar with...

    And tomorrow as promised: food.
    BigDogRaven, jmcg, chudzikb and 5 others like this.
  11. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the great ride report and pictures describing your adventure. Iran sounds like a beautiful place to visit, especially on two wheels.
    Parcero likes this.
  12. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    Regional specialities in Georgia...

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    Farmer's markets flow over with products of the area.

    Judging by the variety of spices on any given bazaar, pepper, curry, cinnamon and all the other usual suspects seem to be invented in the Orient.

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    Sugar

    Garlic is as common as salt and pepper and for free.

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    Bread can be found everywhere on this planet...

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    For meetlovers and carnivors this is paradise.

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    Since tourists pour in in high numbers restaurants, cafes and fast food stores are prepared for the new demand.

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    In Tbilisi a pizza is just as common as in Europe or in America...

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    In Iran fast food joints are also on the rise...

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    That's more like a traditional fast food store...

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    Sometimes the outfit of a restaurant reminds us that times have changed...

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    This is a nicely decorated cafe in Esfahan...

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    In restaurants buffets provide the country's specialities...

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    A typical Bar-B-Q set up...

    Combined with traditional music and other attractions a dinner can easily turn into a feature-length evening event...

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    Cookies, candies and pastries are available at every street corner.

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    Street vendors sell their products right from the cargo bed of their trucks...

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    In an ice cream parlor...

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    Another Iranian ice cream speciality, made of deep-frozen rice and lemon juice...

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    Having lunch or dinner is often a social event...

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    This is a local breakfast...

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    Btw... the cheap hostel breakfasts suck...

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    We had to kiss beer good-bye for more than three weeks in Iran...

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    One of the rare occasions where we cooked a watery instant soup to cure our diarrhea... nothing to write home about...

    Although I love meat, whether grilled or cooked, the Iranian diet is a bit too heavy on meat for my taste.

    Tomorrow: Iranian and German motorcycles.
    yamalama, jmcg, stilcrazee and 8 others like this.
  13. Wildebeest90210

    Wildebeest90210 Long timer

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    Excellent thanks :clap
  14. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Re: diarrhoea - I'm a big fan of psyllium husks.
    Harti likes this.
  15. JimRidesThis

    JimRidesThis Local celebrity

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    Hi @Hayastani, you might well be right about an Iranian visa, I’ve not looked into it myself; but if you haven’t already, do a Google search for a company called Travcour based in London - they specialise in visa applications. Iran might be a no-no, but if there’s a way then I’d trust Travcour to know about it. I have used them myself, and the business I work for uses them As a matter of course, so I guess that’s some sort of recommendation.
  16. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    I can't help you there. I knew from the beginning that the visa issuing process might be tricky... That's why I hired a visa agency. They charged 150.- € and were very efficient. I got the visa in 2 weeks. I have no idea what the whole thing depends on... profession probably ...journalist, member of a political party..., citizenship definitely.
    As I said earlier, Iran has a beef with a lot of countries they don't like... the propaganda machinery against the USA and Israel is pretty well oiled...

    We saw people from Canada, Swizerland, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and other Germans.
  17. BigDogRaven

    BigDogRaven Been here awhile

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    I echo others-this is a fantastic report. Trip of a lifetime no doubt. Looking at this is just amazing that this is 2017........thx for this steller report!
  18. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    Here is a good example for an oppositional view of political thinking. The government promotes "death for all Israelis and Americans", the young man poses with a t-shirt showing the Flat Iron Building in New York.

    Crazy world...
    davesupreme and Parcero like this.
  19. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    Saso and oldenuf like this.
  20. oldenuf

    oldenuf Been here awhile

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    Is your picture of the HP2 after your trip? The HP2 is one to keep, especially now with great memories of where it has taken you.

    Art
    enduro Dan likes this.