Day 657 – 659 | Happy New Year!

In Yogyakarta I “celebrated” New Year and continued the road trip on new years day. In Solo I met the mayor of the city and stayed for the night in the jungle.

(the video is in lower resolution as internet speeds are too slow here, couldnt upload the high-res one).

Day 242 & 243 | Tehran

Day 242 | Friday November 11

Time to head to Tehran. It was over 200km and Ali arranged a recharge place at his family in Karaj. When I got there I had 37% left and it could be possible to reach Tehran. Because there were enough possibilities to charge the car in the chance I couldn’t make it I gave it a go. With 15% left I got to my address in the capital and did 211km on a single charge, that’s a record!

So finally I met Ali. Ali had been helping me to get from the border to Tehran by connecting his friends and family and he had made the first week very easy for me. We drove to his parents place were I was introduced to his family. Later Mehmet, a colleague of Ali came by with his kids. His 3-year old son called me ‘Bibi’ all the time.

Day 243 | Saturday November 12

Ali arranged a presentation at the K.N. Toosi University in Tehran, a technical university. I was welcomed students of the uni and professor Afshar who builded his own electric car already in 2010. The story behind this was a sad one: his mother died because of the air pollution in the city. He than decided to build an environmental friendly car while using only cheap and local parts.
All the students came to see the car and they even made a banner with my name and personal welcome message on it, how great!
In the big auditorium I gave a presentation about Plug Me In, how the first months have been, my experiences with the electric car and my findings on sustainability. It was the first time I had to speak for a big audience. I always hated to speak to audiences, for examples at school but now I kind of enjoyed it. I thought it was special that so many people came to hear my story.

After the presentation there were some interviews and I was introduced to the board of the university. Everyone was very polite and eager to hear my story. I found it’s also really great that even in Iran they find sustainable mobility important.

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Day 221 – 224 | Trabzon

Day 222 | Saturday October 22

Today I went with my host Ali, who is part of the Karadeniz Technical University Energy Technologies Team to the Uni. They organized a day for students who were interested in joining the team. All people who are interested in electric cars so of course they inspected my car from top to toe and I gave lots of explanations. When the students left I had some time to test drive their special car. With my 1.92 meters long body it was hard to get into this low vehicle but sitting so close to the grounds gives you a different feel. The car doesn’t have a pedal but with a turning knob on the dashboard you can control the velocity. It starts a bit slow but after a few meters it speeds up.

The engineers also saw that the profile on my front tires was too low. I already heard this yesterday so we had to do something. The guys knew a good tireman (that’s probably not a word) who might be able to help. He could offer me two second hand tires for the price of 70 lire. That’s about 20 Euro. My mom left me 300 Lire and I thought this would be a good investment.

At night we went to one of the guys to have some drinks. Raki is the national liquor and of course I had to try this. It looks like it’s colorless but when mixed with water it becomes white, magical. When mixed with your body it becomes even more interesting. It was a fun night and the guys laughed a lot when I said some Turkish words. Sikter being their favorite one, you can google what it means.

Day 223 | Sunday October 23

We went back to the Uni and the team spend all day with me to explain their electrical car. I shot a new movie which explains the background of the project and all technical details about the car and I will edit it soon.

Day 224 | Monday October 24

In Trabzon is a Consul of Iran. I wanted to go there to gain some information about how to apply for a visa for the country. Blogs and websites give different information so I wanted to be sure. I already found out that I need an authorization code. I applied for this a few days ago and it takes 7-10 days before I receive it. The experience with the website were I ordered it (I payed 40 pound for it with the donation money) was not so good. I didn’t receive a confirmation mail and the communication was not so smooth. I got a bit suspicious and started googling about this website. I found out that there were many people who had problems with this company. Some people reported that it was a scam, not receiving their codes. Others found the company unprofessional and reported they delivered the code after 2-3 weeks. Some people said they delivered in time.

A few blogs wrote that citizens of some countries (including the Netherlands) don’t need this code and could just pick up the visa, time to find out. At the gate of the consul they already asked for the code and I couldn’t enter without it. Case clear. I am worried now that this company won’t deliver and I need to get it from another company which could cost me 2 weeks more and another 40 pound! Not a nice feeling.

Today I wanted to go to Bayburt to reach Erzurum tomorrow were there is also a consul and apply for the visa. Now I learned it was not necessary anymore and because it was already getting late I decided to stay one more night in Trabzon and go to Bayburt tomorrow.

The boys gathered some press today so I gave some interviews, or well the guys did most of the interviews as they already knew everything. Than they took me to the top of a hill with a nice view over Trabzon and we had some Chai (local thea) at a restaurant there. Than back to the Uni to say goodbye to the team.

I really enjoyed being with them and they did too. Some of the things I heard the last days were touching. One guy said that the group felt really good and happy being with me. Another guy told me it was the first time he had the opportunity to speak English with someone, very special.

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