Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Day 126 (Iran): Maziyaran - Gonbad-e Kavus

daily distance: 48km
total distance: 7559km
riding time:
just over 2h

I mentioned that the number of visitors was a bit on the high side. They became annoying too. Thoroughly so, especially the guy that came by at midnight, approached the now dark tent in which I was sleeping and all I heard were many hellos when I came to and then “Where are you from, where are you from, Mr.?” What the …? I just shouted words I wouldn’t repeat here (and which he didn’t understand, but the message came across at any rate).

After a quick breakfast I quickly covered the short distance to Gonbad where I was going to meet up with Mohammad, the biker I had met a couple of days prior. I had decided that it was time for a break, so I did the 50km early and was done at 10am.

Once there, I was helped by a young guy by the name of Sharokh, who set me up with his internet connection and some snacks when I asked about an internet cafe. Mohammad came by immediately and I was made to feel home right away. It was time to relax, visit the city, hit the sights with a friend and some much-needed sleep in the afternoon.

Here is the most obvious sight, a tower which has lasted for more than 1000 years and which is apparently still the largest brick tower in the world. It also has a curious echo mechanism. You stand in a certain location in front of it and the echo bounces back at you in a pretty amazing way.

The city is a curious mix of cultures. Turkmen, Afghanis and a host of Central Asian people make for a large variety of sights. Dresses are the obvious give-away for Turkmen women, no chador to be seen here. The fashion police in North Tehran would have a field day, though I am not sure that some of the women would take this lightly. The head covering is only partially observed and the colors much more vibrant than anywhere else.

And cows here eat watermelons …

Towards night time we wondered the streets again, had an interesting conversation over dinner with a friend of Mohammad’s. This isn’t the first time this happenend - yet again I am told that people want to leave the country. It strikes me that many of the best and brightest keep telling me that they can’t stand to be here any longer and that they would much rather pack their bags today rather than tomorrow. Not sure what this means for the country in the long run, but the already existing brain-drain is certainly an ongoing phenomenon.


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