Originally Posted by BillUA
Awesome report! Thanks for taking your time to share this with us.
I am curious, what language did you speak to the Iranians either the border guards, or the general population that you interacted with?
In Iran English and French. Young people in towns speak some English. Girls always better than boys. In towns you will meet educated people who had been abroad to do their studies. Often they would speak French. And in general, people are helpful and interested in you, as a traveller. So when I stop somewhere in a town and ask for a hotel, there is someone who will hop on his moped and show me the way and talk to the 'receptionist' and so on.
From Turkmenistan on it's Russian, mostly. My knowledge of Russian was what you can learn in a three-months course, which was not much, in my case. I could ask simple questions and give some information about myself and my trip, that was it and there was no grammar involved. It was words and chunks of phrases.
I managed to read Cyrillic, but very slowly. When approaching road signs with the names of towns written on them, I was busy reading the first and didn't have the time to read the second and third.
Menus in restaurants, what a pain! I often gave up and had the usual soup and bread and tea. I had very good soups throughout Russia. When there were other diners and what they were eating looked good to me, I would order the same.
Anyway, I had not planned a 'gourmet'-trip.
In Mongolia, riders might stop when we were putting up our tents and after some futile attempts to communicate, ride off and wave us good-bye.
At border posts, it's not so difficult. passport, document motocycle, etc.