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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Harti, Oct 10, 2017.
Just awesome report, enjoying every post, always looking forward to the next one...
After our encounter with the secret service and the police, we headed immediately to Damghan. In all fairness I must say, that we created this problem all by ourselves and we would have run into the same kind of trouble in most other countries. So no damage done, let's move on...
We wanted to get away from the dreary Kabob and opted for chicken as we saw so many rotisseries along the way. In the restaurant I found it very clever of the staff to put like 20 layers of plastic sheets on the table to protect it from filth. After each meal they ripped one layer off and - tadahhh - there you have a clean nice table again. Very smart...
Damghan is an interesting city. We visited the Tarichane mosque, most probably the oldest well preserved mosque in Iran built in the 8th century.
Walls or fortifications and battlements have survived in many parts in Damghan. The remains of that wall can be seen north and south of Damghan.
Our hostel had interesting toilets to offer...
Not easy to keep clean though...
Helis BMW decided to go on strike. Starter failure...
Before we left the town entirely we stopped by for souvenirs: pistachioes from street vendors at the city limits. The shop owner had a rather unconventional range of articles besides pistachioes: tiles...
Lunch break in an oasis in the middle of nowhere...
the equivalent of 110°F
For the next 200 mls we cut through the Dasht-e Kavir desert and abandoned ourselves to meditation.
Our final destination today: Garmeh.
A pilsner with 0.0, cruel joke to a true beer drinker!
And it didn't taste remotely like beer.
I'm curious to know how the failed starter issue was resolved.
I'll crack that case tomorrow...
In Garmeh it was time for our first maintenance for our bikes. Helis starter did not work properly and also the instruments stopped working. In my long motorcycle career I had seen almost all possible failures of the usual suspects. Ignition switch, black box, battery, fuses, voltage regulator, even a broken cable, the kill switch at the side stand... Typically you start with the battery. The cable on the terminals were tight, fuses don't exist at the BMW F 800 GS. Before I dug deeper down into the matter, I had a hunch that the problem came from the terminals. The genious mechanic at Helis repair shop forgot to put the washers back in place, when he disconnected the battery for service. So he tightened the screws to the end of the thread, not realizing, that the eyelets were still loose. Through permanent pitting they grew oxydation stuff around the connectors which tightend the cable, but did not allow any current flow. So I replaced the washers while Heli sanded all the involved parts. Problem solved.
In all honesty... would you have thought that THAT was the problem?
We checked the tires, the spokes, the air filters and the oil level. Some screws came loose and needed to be tightened, that's all.
The rest of the day we checked out the oasis. There was the spring in a shady cave, where little fish nibble particles of skin from our feet. A procedure one pays a lot for in my hometown Berlin... we meandered through the palm trees and the olive orchards. We marveled at the buildings and the way, how one can create a structure just made of clay and manure. We petted the camels in a little corral in front of our hostel.
In the living area I gave a little guitar concert with the landlord, who is a well known drummer and who knows how to work the didgeridoo just beautifully.
I was completely baffled about the absence of mosquitos. Maybe it was too hot in the desert...
The next stop will be Yazd.
Great stuff and thanks for posting this report.
Following along Harti and thanks for posting! Would love to visit someday...but decisions others made in the past will likely forbid...so meanwhile keep educating us please. :) Also would like to hear some of Fatima's perspective on the trip, how's it going for her?
it would indeed be interesting, what Martina's/Fatima's point of view is. So I asked her to share some of her thoughts about a motorcycle riding woman in Iran. She said, she will give her input later as we go along with the story.
Just this, so you know what to expect. Women in Iran on a bike over 200 cc... not happening. Fatima can only ask other women for directions e.g., never other men. When she takes off her helmet, she pulls up her scarf in the same movement over her head. A waiter once refused to take money from her, because he, as a fundamentalist, is not allowed to have any connection with women in public. The list goes on and on.
I hope, Martina will find a few moments to write about her feelings and her perspective.
No standing water for them to breed.
The ride from Garmeh to Yazd was unspectacular. It was more survival than adventure. We met a girl at the beach of the Caspian Sea, who told us that she and her family fled the region of Yazd to escape the brutal heat of 140°F into the more moderate temperature zone of 100°F by the lake... weird perspective... We brachiated from oasis to oasis, from one gas stop to the next.
Finally Yazd embraced us with wide open arms and the charme of an exotic town from 1001 nights. We visited many highlights of the islamic architecture, local markets little coffee shops and vibrant streets full of life.
The wind towers are one architectural masterpiece of medieval times. An air condition from the past before electricity was even invented...
The Zoroastrian firetemple is another must-see location. The fire on the inside has supposedly been burning since 470 AD.
On top of the Towers of silence the dead were left to be picked clean by the vultures. This custom was done in accordance with Zoroastrian belief and has been stopped a few decades ago.
Tomorrow I'll take you to the many markets and show you the amazing streetlife...
Top larks Harti.
It's a pain in the arse with the carnet, lots of money for nothing.
There are some places in Iran that I'd like to visit, maybe I'll just see them through your eyes.
Too many places and not enough time.
Keep the rubber side down.
Picked clean by Vultures , similar to a Tebetan sky burial.
I´ve looked up "Zoroaster" at Wikipedia and found a shitload of explanations and definitions. What I derived from it is, that he influenced all religions in one way or another. Zoroaster lived at 600 BC, 1000 BC or 1800 BC, depending of who`s doctrine you follow. Keywords like eternal life, Zoroaster's teaching about individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the resurrection of the body, the Last Judgment, and everlasting life for the reunited soul and body and the recycling of dead bodies found their way into other religions. As you say, similar to Tibetan sky burials..., I came across this mortuary practice first in Bombay, now Mumbai. There one can find also Towers of Silence of Zoroastrian heritage, whereby impureness of the four holy elements water, air, earth and fire was to avoid.
In Yazd we soaked in the Iranian lifestile as we stayed there two more days. From time immemorial this town was a trading post on the silk road, although its been founded right in the hostile environment of a desert.
Sunset over the city...
On a walk through the town we discovered some bizarre things I want to point out.
The door knockers for men and women are different in shape and sound. So if a woman knocks on the door, a woman inside the house will open the door, the same applies for a man. Thereby traditional behaviours will be followed, in which man and woman, who are not known to each other, strictly have to act separated in public.
Who says a bike is no people mover? An entire family of four is not uncommon, I saw even five on one motorcyclette...
Here I want to document the high standards of all the supporting accessories of Iranian bikes.
Persian silk carpets are real masterpieces and justify almost any price...
The man steps on a scale with a shopping bag...
The local markets brim over with goods and products from all over. After the embargo has lifted a couple of years ago, international traders made all sorts of articles accessible to the people. Someone said to me, money was never the problem. It was the access to international markets and a freely convertible currency. Most of the BIP comes from the export of oil and gas and Iran could be a leader in the region in prosperity and economic power. But war activities and involvements and support of international terror groups is extremely expensive. That is one major reason, why there is not enough money for roads, schools and for the infrastructure in general.
A typical money changer. Surveillance cameras all over the place...
Its a balancing act for most of the Iranians to obey the rules of the sharia on one side and to enjoy life without oppression on the other side. In public they behave because they are under constant surveillance of the guardians of public morals. At home than they drink alcohol (we know for sure ), smoke dope (we know for sure ) and dress casual.
It seems to be the nature of a dictatorship that the governing society doesn't allow a free will of their people, while each individual is most friendly, helpful and hospitable.
Tomorrow we will dive into a cultural highlight of Iran: Persepolis.
Our hostel in Yazd was so cozy... we wouldn't have mind to stay even longer...
The breakfast was totally different from what has been served to us before.
The next 200 mls were just boring and uneventful. Because my bike has such a tiny tank I had to gas up more often than Heli and Martina. But these tank stops were good excuses for taking a lunch break or drink stops... Usually we travel with camel bags to avoid stopping every so often. But Martina lost the valve of her bag after she filled it with sparkling water... popped right out and was gone for ever... So I gave her mine and I had to stop for drinking every 15 minutes in that baking oven. Btw... peeing in public is an offence not to be tolerated. But fortunately public restrooms appeared in way better shape than expected.
My African fridge. Just wrap a wet towel around the bottle and let the evaporation do the cooling.
We had hoped that they would serve alcoholic drinks due to the fact that so many international tourists were here. Nada.
Finally, after another long day of heat and extreme dryness we arrived in Persepolis, not far from Shiraz.
Martina had booked rooms in the hotel on the entrance compound. That was clever and gave us the opportunity to leave our bikes at the hotel while we discovered Persepolis. Right in front of the hotel I met a guy from Italy with an identical BMW HP2 such as mine. Normally not worth mentioning, but only 2910 bikes were built in total. What are the chances to see two HP2's at the same time at this remote place?
Persepolis. Founded by Dareios in 520 B.C. His successors Xerxes and Ataxerxes I and II added buildings, temples and recreational areas before Alexander the Great flatened and burnt large parts of Persepolis in 330 B.C. Newer archeological findings say that he only vandalized buildings erected by Xerxes I.
As we strolled through the site I began to value the greatness and the technical understanding of the people back than. Of course, I'm not forgetting how many slaves and prisoners of war lost their lifes in the process of building all this...
Anyway, I was deeply impressed. For me Persepolis ranks on the same level as the Forum Romanum in Rome and the Akropolis in Athens.
Wonderful report, good sir!! Following avidly!