Well, I’ve made it out of Iran and managed to get the bike on a boat bound for Dubai, from where I’ll search for a passage to India. While the shores of this vast Islamic Republic slowly recede from view and the Persian Gulf sparkles all around me, this crossing gives me a chance to reflect on my time in this country.
Getting out of Iran is proving to be more difficult than getting in. Imagine my surprise when arriving at the huge port of Bandar e Abbas to find out that it was closed for the Persian New Year holiday celebrations. I was told to use this exit route to Dubai after my Pakistan visa was rejected, leaving me no choice but to ride 2,300km across this arid, hostile landscape to the southern tip of the country, where the United Arab Emirates is within striking distance, just several hours away by boat across the Persian Gulf.
I’m proud to say that I’ve made it into Iran safely, having been chased by rabid dogs, held up at numerous military checkpoints and nearly flattened by huge trucks bearing down on me while I tried to stay upright in a blizzard. The thought of having ridden there all the way from the UK in 11 days is hard to fathom. One thing’s for sure though: I couldn’t have done it without the support of the adventure biking community, who have made things happen for me in a way I never could have alone.
Or at least I think that’s what the Turkish police guard said, only without the ‘please’. I’m on the outskirts of a shit-hole town called Yuksekova and really close to the Essendere-Sero border, where my Iranian ‘fixer’ is waiting for me on the other side. He has told me several times that I have to get to the border by 4pm or I won’t get through, it’s now 3pm and I’ve been held here for an hour already.