Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rough camping for beginners

Serious faces at the border
I'm at the Turkey / Iran border, it's 6pm and I don't fancy driving to Umrie in the dark. Strange new country, strange new roads, strange everything. I've been looking for hotels on the way but they all look a bit dodgy. I quite relish the thought of rough camping, my tent long gone I'm left with a bed and sleeping bag so I'm looking at possible spots to camp but they are all too close to the road. I don't want to advertise my camp if I can avoid it as I'm still not sure about security around here, is it ok? There is plenty of army towers with guns aimed at the ready, sticking out of pillar boxes. I'm not sure which way they point but they're waiting for something or somebody. I do hope they wait till I'm gone regardless.

Looking for somewhere to stay I zig zag up a narrow lane which steepens and becomes more difficult with boulders, potholes, rutts's and muddy puddles. This bike is not meant for this kind of stuff! This reminds me of Wales and my various trips to the BMW off road skills team training days. It's amazing that I'm suddenly in off-road mode and none of this bothers me or my bike and I'm impressed. All my off-road worries about this bike have gone for now.

Friendly Kurdish family
At the top of this laneway there is a house with two guys sitting drinking tea. I'm still impressed with my handling of the bike over huge bumps and potholes but they don't notice how good I am!
With odd sign language and noises I ask them if there is anywhere I can sleep, a field or grass nearby.  One of the guys shows me a bit of grass and tells me I'm welcome to make it my home for the night, however his uncle gets wind of this and as I lay out my bed he's telling me I must sleep in his house. I do try to explain im happy there but he insists. This goes on for 10 minutes after which he phones someone and then hands me phone. "you must do what my uncle says", crackles the voice in thick accent, "it is dangerous for you". I ask the uncle, "so where do i sleep?
A night in a complete strangers house

I'm now in a large room with a great carpet of a local mans house who insisted I stay there. Its too cold they gesture. Well it is a long way from the warm temperatures of 6000 feet lower.They feed me, show me the bathroom and so on and after a long chat with several people on the porch i find myself in my sleeping bag on the floor. How nice is that? I wanted to finish the small bottle of whiskey before I left for Iran but tea it is.

It's very quiet I here. There are no windows but net style curtains. Is this a cell and I've missed something. Now I'm getting paranoid. I'm scared to check if the door is locked and I can't get out. Stop it Steven! It's all good. Go to sleep!

Next day I'm up early and packed. After nearly an hour, no one appears, they're all still sleeping. I'd have liked to see everyone before I go but I'm anxious the queue at the border will be getting longer and longer before opening time. Anyway, I'm off to Iran.

The border crossing into Iran was an easy affair, in fact I mistakenly crossed over and was welcomed by border soldiers "Welcome to Iran" before the Turkish gate dude called me back to have some more stamps and waste another hour walking around in circles.

"Welcome to Iran, here's the bill"

1 comment:

  1. I'm following it.. I like this one.. I would be paranoid too Steven!!!