05 October, Sunday
Masuleh – Rasht – Ramsar – Chalus – Karaj – Tehran (471 km)
Woke up at 05:00 again. After inhaling a little bit of Masuleh air we took the other road to the coast, which is asphalt. After Izmir, it's the first time we descended to sea level.
Entering every little town, we saw portraits of people in groups of 5 - 10. Seemed like movie stars to us. Reality is they are the local heroes which was killed during Iran - Iraq war.
I saw a car wash in Rasht and we decided to gave the Katooms a bath. The chain was very muddy.
After i washed off the dirt, it was time for a detailed attention.
This is the king of bikes in Iran. The one you' ll always see.
After Rasht, we reached the Caspian coast and continue by the coastline. Mete had a headache so we stopped for lunch.
We couldn't achieve a ride tempo in this road because in every 3 kms there is a speed bump and let me tell you, Iran has some speed bumps.
Also, a lot of cars trying to u turn to our lane from the opposite and usually these guys don't bother having a look if someone's coming. We always slowed down and let them pass. Another problem was we had to change money.
We only changed 50 EUR at the border cause we didn't want to get fucked. So, we were out of money and every bank i stopped refused money exchange and told that, we should do it in Chalus at the central branch of Bank Melli.
After an unefficient ride to Chalus, we found the bank with the help of local bikers. Again suddenly there was 5 people till a took my helmet off. I ran in the bank to found the man in charge. He turned out to be the slowest and dumbest man in Iran. First 15 minutes, he took my passport and just looked at the pages. His brain was not processing what it saw. He was looking meaninglessly to the empty visa pages. When he returned to the page with the photo, he asked my name. What an improvement ! Then he tried to explain that i don't have a visa. Then i tried to explain that i don't need one. Turkish citizens can enter with only a valid passport. Because we couldn't communicate they gave me a phone with an english speaking guy on the other end. I told him that their officers stamped entry to my passport, and asked how this would be possible if i did something wrong. During this hassle, i guy was constantly pulling me from the shoulder and pointing outside. I somehow told him to leave me alone because there is my friend there with the bikes. After 10 minutes Mete came in with sweat dripping from the tip of his nose, in a mode he could laugh and cry at the same time. Of course i asked him why the hell he left the bikes alone. He replied " What bikes ? Bikes are gone.
The story is like that. So as i told before there was 5 people already the second we stopped. I ran in and Mete tried to take out the camera to shoot the guys who were asking these funny questions. But he immidiately gave up because the crowd was 20 people now. So, he looked around in order to prevent something from being stolen. While answering millions of questions, the crowd increased to 100 people. He couldn't see behind the people. It was like a wall from meat. Then policemen came with their sticks and tried to break the crowd and pulled Mete's arm saying some stuff in Farsi. An Azeri guy from the crowd told Mete that he has to go to the Police station. Also, they want the bikes in the station too. Mete tried to communicate with hands and explained that it's not possible for him too leave my bike. After a while he couldn't resist and took his bike to the station while leaving a policeman on guard beside my bike. Then he returned and took my bike too. After that he rushed to the bank but the main door was closed due to the lunch break. He found a backdoor with the help of a local and came near me.
We had a good laugh after taking the bikes from the Police station. All this because of our bikes. I can't imagine being on a Goldwing or Electra Glide with all the lights and stuff.
After the money exchange scheme, we headed to the much awaited Chalus - Karaj road. This is a pass road to Tehran with endless curves lasting for 165 kms. It was great.
A huge downside to this road is the traffic. The lack of a toll road to Tehran from north makes this road very crowded. 10 - 20 vehicle-long lines caused by slow climbing trucks...
When you pass the traffic, you are free for 5 minutes till you reach the other one. In this situation we didn't stop for photos, not to pass the same traffic again.
We reached to Karaj via this great road and decided to take the toll road for the last 50 kms to Tehran. After 10 minutes a Citroen Xantia came tearing from the back and cut us. The guy waved a sign writing "STOP!" on it. We had it with the authorities today.
Highway patrol said "motor memnu, motor memnu" means the bikes are forbidden in the highway. We knew that but played dumb tourists. He threw us to the old road from the next exit. The old road was not bad at all too.
After reaching Azadi Square we pulled over to figure out the accomodation. While choosing an hotel from the book a girl asked directions too us. Do we look like locals ?
After figuring out the directions we barged in a traffic that's impossible to describe. I've never seen somthg like this. A huge four lane street is packed completely. The red light countdown was indicating 270 seconds and after that only 4 cars could pass and back to countdown again. A little later our bikes overheated and we were forced to pull over and wait half an hour. It was a complete caos. Again we were surrounded by millions of questions. Later, a guy approached speaking perfect english. At first we thought he was an American. After a brief chat, Aydin invited us to his house for the night. At first i thought this was ta' arof
but he kept on insisting, so we said ok. He jumped on my back and guided us to his house. We had to take off the sidebags to fit the bike from his street. Fortunately he had a locked garage. After taking showers, we got out with his car. Stopped for sandwiches and fried mushrooms, then drove to a high place and made a picnic on the side of the road. Aydin has all the supplies and kits in his trunk. He took out the tea kit and prepared tea after the dinner. This was the view of Tehran from the picnic.
When we got back to the house, Aydin asked our program for tomorrow. We told that we may wander around the city. He told that there' s nothing in the city and asked if we would be interested in conquering the Central Alborz Mountains. We were immidiately in for the invite. It was already 24:00, so we jumped to bed to rest for another suprising day.