Nesfe Jahan, pt 45

30 October 2010

I make it to Van with no problems whatsoever. The famous lake here, Van Golu, fails to impress me (not that I made an effort), and the next day the guidebook hint of breakfast was just a rip off. The whole city is under siege, it’s republic day. A waste if a perfectly good school day, if you ask me. I get stopped by white-gloved parade police three times and have to empty my backpack. Never happened down south. It’s a joke anyway, none of these mupppets find my camping knife that’s in a top pocket.  Time to keep moving. I catch the first ambulance in my hitchhiking career(!) , full of Kurds. As soon as I tell them where I was, they warm up to me, and before they drop me off, they stop a truck to bring me to the border city, Dogubayazit.

Before the city, there’s a military checkpoint. This can mean only one thing: back to a Kurdish majority. I arrive, and get a cheap hotel. I’m stuck here for today. Friday is Sunday in Iran, so it’s better to cross tomorrow. I could do it today, but I want to take it easy. Refresh Farsi so I can haggle better.Catch up on sleeping.

The city itself is wild. It’s the northern copy of Cizre. It has a stunning view of Ararat. A guy even tries to sell me a tour to Noah’s Ark. Nice try. They’re cunning here. A lot of smuggling from Iran. Small kids shining shoes. Huge military base, with hundreds of tanks. Not for terrorists, for Iran. The only action here for republic day is extra soldiers protecting Ataturk’s statue. I get free tea again. It’s stupid, but right now I feel more calm here than in Van.

By the time you read this, I will be in Iran. Inshallah.

When I started traveling,  I set myself a goal. Because you need one. My goal was the city of Isfahan, in central Iran. There’s a popular proverd in Persia. Isfahan is half of the world. Because, for a while, it really was centre of the Persian Empire, the silk road trade, and you could find diplomats and traders from half the world. “Esfahan nesfe jahan(ast)” in Farsi. It’s also the title of the posts about these travels. But, by now, I could come up with two or three alternative titles. Seatbelts optional. Or better yet: Me Tarzan, you truck.