Welcome to the Cradle of Civilizations!
After a pretty dramatic (simply because a guy who gave us a lift to the border asked about cocaine in Ukraine and required from us to pay 200 $ for a 30km ride, which we refused, of course) departure from Turkey, we have finally have arrived at the border with Iran .. and my heart still beating fast and now even faster.
I have arranged my scarf properly, and “courage” as the French would say. We patiently waited in the queue and when our turn came, I felt how everybody behind us was starring at the two lonely foreigners lost in this corner of the world. Probably almost no one goes to Yusefova – Serow to cross the Turkish-Iranian border.
The border-control officer gave us a big welcoming smile, stamped our passports and said: Welcome to Iran. Not many questions, no luggage control, no one bothered to go through files on our laptop or hard drive. So here we were…IRAN.
We followed the people, not knowing exactly where we were going. Right here at the border I have seen already the different faces of people. Beautiful faces. A very friendly girl who spoke perfect English, has offered to help in case we have any problems. She even bargained with the driver for our ride to the next city, as the only possible transport is taxi. Her eyes were very kind and beautiful.
The ride to the first city (Orumieyh), took about 30 minutes. We now had time to breathe and look around. Hills, old cars and inscriptions which we could not understand. We were surprised by the old cars all around, and they are so very functional and fast. We felt like in a James Bond movie from the 80′s.
The taxi driver took us to the bus station where we purchased tickets to Tabriz. While waiting for our bus we got some “Coca-Cola ” just beause what can be more ironical than drinking Coke in Iran, but later we found out it’s not original but locally produced.
Our bus came, and we noticed that we were the only ones sitting next to each other, a man and a woman. It made us smile. The way to Tabriz was so beautiful, as passing a salty water lake, with the sunset on the background. I had tears in my eyes, too many emotions for one day.
Once we arrived to Tabriz, while trying to figure it out how to get to the city center..we asked two young boys if they could help us. They were so helpful that they even paid for our tickets to the center and totally refused to accept any money from us.On the bus, everybody was smiling at us, wishing: Welcome to Iran. A lovely lady with whom I shared few smiles and some non comprehensive phrases, already invited us to stay at her place that night. It was already 9 pm. We politely rejected, as we thought.. probably that this can’t be real.
The boy who helped us with the ride, and spoke English, also invited us to his place. They were students and very cheerful. As they insisted, this time we could not refuse it. We stayed with them for the first time in Iran, and honestly couldn’t have asked for a better welcoming. We shared traditional Iranian food, which they prepared for us, we laughed a lot and told stories from our countries.
We had time today to visit the city & look around, I must say that the most fascinating sight so far is watching people. They are so beautiful, I can’t take my eyes from them. Women are elegant, modern, and they have mastered the art of wearing a hijab.
In the way that it already looks like a modern accessory that was bought in expensive Parisian shops. There is so much more freedom here, than we actually imagine.
Of course, we had a separate ride on a bus where women and men occupy different parts of a bus. Bus stations and buses have separate entrance for women and men.
We read about it, but I imagined it in a different way, like separate carriages, or separated by a glass wall to eliminate any contact. In fact it is just a fence (waist-height) and we managed to stand next each other and talk over this “fence”.
People were curiously looking a us, asking where we are from, what we are doing here, etc.
The first impressions are very positive. Looking forward to explore more of this ancient country and meet more people to learn about their lives.
Have you been to Iran? What are you impressions and experiences in this country?