Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Day 96 (Iran): rest day in Tabriz (fortunately for you, Mr.)

No biking today. Instead I was slated to go on a tour of Tabriz with one of the booksellers of the town. Naser was an excellent tour guide and is a great person. We first tried to get an extension for my measly 15 day visa. The tourist information guy was extremely helpful - spoke fluent German, English and Spanish and was pretty angry at the personnel at the Istanbul consulate for giving me only 15 instead of the usual 30 days. He wasn’t hopeful that I would get an extension because I had not spent enough time in Iran, which is apparently nine days. I was going to try anyway.

On to the foreigner police - what a surreal experience. Guy no. 1 was too high for me, so he called his subordinate. He was friendly and started out saying: “Fortunately for you Mr. you still have 9 days on your visa.” I nodded understanding. Alright, this might be difficult. So it went back and forth a bit. “Fortunately for you Mr.” was said about 10 times with a sardonic smile on the face. It was a bit frustrating. Nothing to be done. My questions about the next offices where I could apply wasn’t answered. He just said Tehran and Isfahan. My explanation that it might be difficult to reach any of those places within nine days did not faze him the slightest. Tehran is also not recommended as a place to apply for an extension. So this throws a monkey wrench into my plans a bit. Will have to adjust a bit I think. I asked again about other offices on the way. The guy tells me that he speaks German. Great. Wonderful. Could you answer my question? “Das Buchstabieren mancher Woerter ist eine schwere Aufgabe.” [Spelling some words is a difficult task]. Where in the world did that sentence come from? I nod politely, figuring that it might be best to appease the guy and maybe get something out of him anyway. No chance. In the end I insist on him writing down where to apply for the visa extension between Tabriz and Tehran and leave.

Naser and I spend the rest of the day touring the city, a bike store which could have been in Germany (meaning extremely expensive bikes, up to EUR 5000) the old bazaar which is fantastic and reminded me of the one in Istanbul. The conversations were absolutely great - it was a pleasure and I learned so much about a range of different things going on here. Hard to put into words.

We eventually go to Aydin’s workplace and head home afterwards. We see this …

We meet up again and have some drinks (meaning banana milk and blackberry juice) and after dinner with Aydin’s family eventually hit the sack. I feel well-fed and figure that this is probably the caloric intake I should be doing every day. But oh boy, what a night I had ahead of me …


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