Day 274 | Entering the Emirates

Day 274 | Tuesday December 13

After a few weeks of silence on this blog I am back. Due to some restrictions in Iran I was not allowed to publish articles about my adventures in this country. I can say that I had the time of my life here. Iran’s nature is beautiful, there were many things to do but what made it really special was the people I’ve met here. Everywhere I came I was welcomed with open arms, people are very hospitable and kind and it was a very unique and unforgettable experience to be here.

On Monday evening I got on a ferry from Bandar Abbas, a city on the Persian Gulf. At 9 in the morning the ship arrived at Port Khalid in Sharjah, 50km from Dubai. I could almost not hold my eyes open as I didn’t close them much last night. Even tough I had 3 chairs for myself which I fully used, these Iranians like to snore a lot which kept me awake.

It was not until 11 that we were allowed to disembark. First the woman were ‘released’, than the containers and eventually the man. A weird process. With a bus we were taken the the passport control, for Dutch citizens they offer a free visa on arrival which is valid for 90 days. They seem to be nice for Europeans, all the Iranians needed to get their eyes checked, we didn’t need to do that. Probably they know about the good quality of carrots in Europe.

After the passport-check a long and unclear process followed. First we needed to wait for the shipper. I am talking about ‘we’ as I met some other Europeans who were traveling by car as well. A German couple with a huge truck, an Austrian couple with a van and a French couple. I needed to pay the shipper 410 dirham, which is around 100 euro. Luckily I have some money now and could use the ATM again. Than there was a long process of document-checks, stamp here, stamp there, signature at another office and back again. I don’t know how many kilometers I walked today but I burned a lot of calories.

It was not until 4pm that I finally got to see the car. I worried a lot about her condition. The car already shipped separately from me and left already on Sunday. The car is very low and I already saw that the ramp to and off the ferry was very steep and the car could not have made this. The batteries are underneath the car and if these hit an object it can get seriously damaged. From the outside she looked great and on the display I couldn’t find any abnormalities about the inside so she seemed to have survived without a scratch. When I received the keys to the car I still couldn’t leave the port. The car needed to go through an X-Ray scanner. Just like when you break you leg but a few sizes bigger. After this I got another stamp and could pick up my exit-pass. When I left the gate it was 5pm. Just when I passed the gate I realized I had left luggage in the office of the shipper. I was not allowed back into the harbor with the car so I needed to walk 2km, walk back with the luggage, pass the custom-checks again and now I could really leave, another hour had passed. This day I lost about 800 dirham, which is around 200 euro. A big loss.

Entering Dubai
So I started driving towards Dubai. When I left 274 days ago I had no idea where this journey would bring me so that I arrived now in the Emirates is really something special. The highway to the center of the city was exactly what I expected: huge skyscrapers on both sides, posh cars passing me and flashy LED lights everywhere.

My host for today and the coming days in Jan Willem, a Dutchie. I got in touch with him through a friend from Haarlem who works as cabin crew for Emirates here and is flying at the moment. My host lives at the famous Palm Island, you know the island in the shape of a palmtree. For me this was always something unreachable as it’s bloody expensive and far away. Very special that I’m spending a few days here.

My new host
Around 7 I rang Jan Willem’s doorbell. He is a friendly guy and works for a Dutch investment company. He has a housemate, Andrew, a 54 year old. The apartments here are luxurious, seriously luxurious. Each building has a supermarket, gym, beach, spa, some stores and a restaurant. In this restaurant we had a great dinner and a cold beer. That last one especially made me happy since I didn’t had that for many weeks.

Here in The Emirates are no filters on social media and the internet connection is very fast here. From now one you will see daily updates on this website and my socials like you were used too.

Dream come true! I arrived in Dubai this morning and tonight I'm sleeping at the world famous palm island! I'm staying…

Posted by Plug Me In on Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2016

The plan for Dubai
About the coming period. I need to find a way to ship the car to India which is very expensive and I don’t have the money for that at the moment. In the coming days I have some meetings with companies and I’m hoping they are interested in sponsoring this. If not I would need to start a crowdfunding campaign or find a job to earn the money. Also I had a request to join an event about electric cars which takes place at the end of January, I havent decided yet if I will join but it seems very interesting.
In eater way I am going to be in Dubai for a few weeks as there is also a lot going on sustainability wise. This part didn’t really work out in the past few countries so I will pay some more attention to that.


Day 231 | To Iran?

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.