Monday, 20 August 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 67

Day 67: Never Ride on a Weekend in North of Iran, Never; From Khalkhal to Khoshkebijar  in Iran 

July 6, 2012; Distance covered today: 160 Km; Total: 5596 Km

It was  8 o’clock when I left Khalkhal. I climbed for about 35 Km to 2500 m high. It was so foggy that I had to turn on my lights. I could hardly see anything, and the weather was really cool. From 2500 m high, I rode on a steep road down to sea level. The scenery was beautiful. But…

 A bee farm



Rice fields in north of Iran

Friday is the weekend in Iran, and today was a Friday. Yesterday was Nime Shabaan, one of the most important religious holidays in Iran. On days like this, many people get one day off to stretch the holiday to be able to travel. Anyways… on days like this, on the roads, specially in northern part of Iran, the traffic is insanely heavy, which might be a normal thing in other countries, but what is problematic is the “lawlessness” on the roads. The drivers and specially motorcyclists do anything they want—fast, reckless, dangerous, joy riding with no one to control them. What happened to me in this condition? Motorcyclists would ride their bikes toward me like the kamikaze to kick me out of the road; some would come from behind and pass by me like a bullet. They would almost hit me. 

Some would do the same and at the same time, shout into my head as loud as they could to scare me.  I was so annoyed and angry that I also got aggressive and angry. I did no smiles to the people, no friendly wave of hand as I was riding, no stopping to have a sip of water or tea or a chat with people. If I heard a motorbike approaching me from behind, I would be so scared and cautious that sometimes, I would get off the road and wait for it to pass.  When I say “motorcyclists”, I mean some young people in their T-shirts and sandals, with no helmet or anything you would see in Europe. Some had three people on one single motorbike. 

Down the road near Asalem, there was a police check point where I stopped to complain about the motorcyclists. The police man said that he could do nothing about the situation since there were so many of these kind of riders. I told him that he could fine them,as easy as that. But he kind of said, “Welcome to reality; laws and rules, but no enforcement when it comes to traffic”. 

I passed Asalem and was riding on the flat straight road on the sea coast toward Anzali. I was so disappointed at what had happened to me for the last couple of hours. I was so disappointed  not because of the motorcyclists who bothered me, but because of the fact that I saw many young people in Iran, who I used to believe in changing the situation to the better. But, in fact, they were culturally not even close to thinking about changing the situation. 

I was so disappointed. Iran is going downhill with this young population. You may say,  "this is only a very small portion of the young population", but before the good minority be able to inspire the bad majority, the bad would turn the good into one them. Just like what happened to me. For 60 some days, I was reciting the song, "Doost midaram to ra ... Hamvatan .... Dorrst midaram to ra ... ey cho man." as I was riding toward my country. But today, I was shouting at the motorcyclist, insulting them, and showing them a finger when they were bothering me. They turned me into one of them. I was really disappointed. What happened to my mission of "finding a friend a day"?

It was about 2 o’clock when I stopped at a supermarket. By then, I was riding with no aim at sight. I didn’t know how far to go or where to stop for the night. I was seriously considering getting a bus home. I had had it. It was too dangerous to ride in north of Iran. At the supermarket, I had a drink and a piece of cake when I decided to ride fast to get to my sister’s house. I didn’t know how far it was to her house, but I needed some motivation to keep going strong because I was so demotivated. From then, I kept riding fast.

I was wondering what day it was, a Thursday or a Friday, so I asked a man on a very old motorbike if it was a Thursday. As we were riding, he looked at me and said, “Are you in love?” I said, “For a traveler like me, all days are the same”. “why do you travel like this?” he asked. “Well… I want to meet human beings, and know about their lives and…” He interrupted me and asked disappointedly, “Did you find any?” I remembered the motorcyclists and all the hardship I went through all day. I told him I saw some crazy ones today. He then said, “Be my guest tonight” (meaning goodbye). Then he speeded up and left. 

It was really difficult to ride on the crowded roads to get to Khoshkebijar.  I went to my sister’s. She was not in, but my nephew, 31 years old, opened the door and sent me to the shower. He was rather surprised to see me on a bike. He thought I had ridden from Tehran.

In the evening, my nephew, his fiancé, and I went to a restaurant and had some good food.


  1. You has a great blog. I'm very interesting to stopping here and leaves you a comment. Good work.

    Lets keep writing and blogging

    Nb: Dont forget to leave your comment back for us.

    1. Thanks for your comment and showing interest. I am happy that you like it.

  2. If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger Mansour. Looking forward to seeing you get back safe and sound and sitting down for a beer with you. Be safe. Cheers, Dave