Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Day 128 (Iran): Cheshmeh Khan - nowhereland (the police is out to get me)

daily distance: 105km
total distance: 7768km
riding time: 5-6h

Woke up in the dusty telephone station compound (still well protected from any predators) and made my way out after breakfast.

Uneventul uphill kms went by, the area vast and beautiful. After what I thought was the top of the pass the wind became a front wind and would remain so for the next 40km. It just wasn’t the top of the pass. I struggled for some good 15km until the actual downhill started which was interrupted by someone giving me two yummy peaches and then the police.

A pickup with two policemen stopped me, asked for my passport (no way to ignore them) and radioed my inform in. After some “I don’t speak Farsi” palaver he gave me my passport, let me move on … or so I thought. I had already thought I understood something about stopping further ahead, but why give me my passport back then? Thoughts raced in my mind - someone had said something to someone about something, someone had read the blog (which is pretty innocuous I think still and on the tame side, hello stranger if you read this) or someone had seen me taking a picture (I know this qualifies for the first alternative). So, sure enough an unmarked car with a plain clothes waits for me and he carries a radio and says he is from the police. Well, anyone can say that (it was clear he was police), so I asked for some ID, a question that took him aback and he pretended not to understand and then showed me something that looked official enough with him in a uniform. He spoke English, took down my passport information and then, when I asked him about why I was stopped, said he didn’t understand. He did. Clearly. But he either didn’t want to say or just really had no clue, was the only person in the area to speak some English and was sent out.

A bit more worried about the situation (yes, I have the German embassy phone number handy), I entered the next town where he stops me again. He had simply forgotten to write down the passport number, which I had realized before, but didn’t feel like telling him. He felt awkward to approach me again, that much was clear. I thought for a second to point to a different number in my passport, but thought better of it. No reason to get him and me (ultimately) into trouble.

I spent the heat hours in an internet cafe, the owner again refusing any payment (it was painfully slow, hence I couldn’t update the site). “You are a guest in Iran, no money is needed.” Moved on when it was still too warm I soon realized as I was slugging up a hill on the top of which there are some convenient trees to shelter you from the sun. I had no intention to make it to Bojnurd, the next major city and kept lookin for a place. On my left I saw some trees in an otherwise rather dry area. I hit the jackpot … it was totally unexpected.

The villages are surrounded by lush green vegetation and I was intent on staying there. Palaver I didn’t get me far - to a store with nothing in it. I needed some food though. Palaver II yielded more results. First, four tomatoes, deal. Then, Ahmad comes around who speaks some rally broken English, but it was good enough to make clear what I wanted. A gorgeous place to pitch was the result with a little stream among some trees. Ahmad wanted to invite me to his home, which I refused because I simply wanted some downtime. As it was still early, we agreed that I would go with him for dinner and as supermarket. Turns out that the 1km he was talking about were 10km and the quick meal was much longer than expected. I had a great time though and was given a tour of this very beautiful area on his motorcylce. I was also given a giant melon as a farewell present, part of which I will have to down for breakfast tomorrow. I ain’t taking this big boy with me.


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