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Old 05-15-2009, 09:33 AM   #63
Boarder06 OP
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Cambridge, MA
Oddometer: 246
Van to Orumiyeh

I decided to attempt to cross into Iran at the less frequented Esendere-Serou crossing. I couldnít find out whether it was open for individual travelers with private vehicles but figured I should try. Good thing I did because this turned out to be very scenic drive through Kurdistan.
My I first stop was at Hosap castle

Mountains and more mountains all around with some bizarre landscapes thrown in.

There were some dodgy looking characters around smuggling fuel. Who can blame them with the price differential between the cheapest fuel in the world and the probably most expensive? The only serious military checkpoint was at the Yuksekova turn off. I was invited into the hut and one of the soldiers spoke English pretty well. I filled out a form and got the chair in front of the riffle rack. So I donít think they felt threatened by me :-). I was stopped at another checkpoint but the guys just wanted to check out the bike. I declined an invitation for lunch.
At the border I drove past the waiting trucks and buses straight to the front. They only let a certain number of vehicles into the holding pen to processes them. It was a bit disorganized but my new found trucker friends gave me food, tea, and moved me along the various desks. After finishing the Turkish side I had to wait again in front of the Iranian gate. I killed the time sitting in the empty bus behind me. I studied the Iran map with the drivers over cold soft drinks. Once on the Iranian side the process was straight forward and the whole crossing only took 1.5 hours.

The Iranian side seemed markedly drier than Turkey.

I moved on to Orumiyeh, where I promptly got lost. A local rider guided me to my hotel which had elevator music and an English speaking manager, who was a goldmine of information. The room came with a free camel pack, forgotten by some biker more than a year ago.

After a shower I walked around for a while and had the Iranian version of pizza for dinner. If you think you canít talk on a phone, hold a baby, eat, drive a taxi and shout for customers at the same time you havenít been to Iran. I was very impressed by this guy.
I came about this roundabout statute of the Golden Boys
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