Iran – what to expect?

We arrived at the border pretty late, we have to admit. But at borders service should be provided 24 hours, right! We could rely on the Iranians. After the bridge over the Aras river, we parked our bikes in front of a booth, where a young soldier welcomed us with „I love Germany“, advised us kindly to leave the bikes there and proceed to the passengers hall. Good start. As we were the only passengers in that moment, we got our passports checked and stamped right away. A second booth: passport again – registered maybe, security check and successfully entered Iran!!! Stop, our bikes need to be registered. What did we buy the expensive Carnet de Passage for, an in Iran necessary customs document? We asked the security guy and got the answer we didn’t want to hear. „Carnet – police, tomorrow 8, ähhhh or 9. We already accepted the fact to spend the night in the passengers hall but needed some things from or bikes to make the best our of the situation. The following 90 minutes were the first example of multiple encounters with Iranians in Iran. We drove further to the customs and showed our Carnet de Passage with little hope to succeed. One guy came took our passports and the Carnet, we didn’t feel very comfortable with that, and disappeared in a little container. 15 minutes later another guy came and asked for the documents, took them from the other guy in the container and checked the motor number and number plates. He asked us to come to his office, which was obviously closed, as all the other offices there, organised some copies and after 45 minutes he said goodbye and we were good to go. So in the end this guy was off work already and came in just for us without being mad or unfriendly. We were positively surprised and booth knew that this would have never happened in Germany. We felt equally surprised by the fact that nobody checked our bikes and luggage at all. And the in the last post mentioned restriction for bikes bigger 250cc or American brand for entering Iran was never a topic even though it was officially published by the ADAC…

We parked our bikes to get some money exchanged. First we checked the exchange rate online. 45.000 Rial for 1dollar. Then we went to the official exchange office in the passengers hall. They offered us 9800 for a dollar which confused us a lot. Even more confusing were all the private people outside the office who offered us between 1.5 and 1.8 million for the 20 dollars we intended to exchange. Finally we found out that for simplification reasons Iranians still use an old currency, the Toman, which simply means just to reduce the number you have to pay in Rial by one 0 and you get Toman. We gave it a shot and received 1.95 million Rial for 20 dollars. More than twice the amount we would have gotten from a bank. Still confusing. But ok for us.

Without any exaggeration there were 25 selfies taken with us and the bikes in the next hour but everybody was incredibly friendly and interested. The other side of the medal, it was already after midnight and the next bigger city a 90 minutes drive away. What we first thought we had avoided was now our best choice.

We decided to sleep in the passengers hall until sunrise to get the Iran adventure started. It wasn’t the most comfortable night we had on our journey…

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