Day 231 | Monday October 31

After early breakfast I went into to city to make the final arrangements before entering Iran. I needed to exchange euro’s to Rial (the currency in Iran) but no banks or exchange offices could do this. There was no other option than hoping that they would accept euro’s at the border.

From Dogubeyazit it was only 25km to the border. There was at least an 8km line for trucks and it didn’t seem to be moving. Luckily passenger cars could pass the que. At the exit of Turkey they raised some eyebrows because I didn’t had the Iranian visa in my passport. I told them I heard it was possible to get it at the border but they all said it wasn’t. They would let me try. At the gate a Turkish man warned me again and he talked to a Iranian official on the other side. They confirmed that it was not possible to get a visa on arrival at this border. Damn!

It was a big let down but what can I do? I knew it was not sure and I took the risk. No other option than head back to Dogu and research the possibilities. I went back to Cafe Pera were Murat took me yesterday. They had a decent internet connection so I contacted Ali. He has been helping me a lot, planning the route and connecting me with people on the way. He asked me to send my documents and he would try to arrange a letter of invitation. He also told me that the weather won’t be a problem in the coming weeks and when I will go down from Teheran it will be hot so no problems at all from there.

I spend all day at the cafe and met some of the people who worked there. All very kind people. Mostly young people who had married when they were already 15 years of age and now all had big families, which was hard for me to understand. For them it was hard to understand that I was 29 and single.

They introduced me to a guy who is a poet and theater maker. He spoke fluent English so the guys used him as a translator but later we would have an interesting conversation. He stayed for a few months in Holland were he performed the Kurdish version of Hamlet which he translated. He told me a lot about the history of Kurdistan, the oppression they faced and how it will be in the future. Everyone lost a lot of friends and family in the last years. Even today there is a war going on in the southern part of Kurdistan. They have hope that within 5 years the Kurds will get their territory back and it will be separated from Turkey.

My host Murat from yesterday couldn’t host me today but the guys from the cafe had a friend at a hotel and I could stay there. Great how everyone is helping me here.

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