July 21, 2010 | Dogubayazid, Turkey
Left Tabriz early morning, as early as 8am. It was a very nice weather…chilly and cool. Filled Lil G up and got some spare. Though it’s just 300 km to go, chances i might not get some petrol along the way was quite big. With extra fuel enough to get me to the border, I started the ride.
Everything went smooth till I reached the border. Changed my Iran Riyal to Turkiye Lira. Iran money cannot be used outside the country nor it can be changed anywhere else. So I changed all.
The Custom Department at the Iran side is still the same like any other borders. Located on top of the hill; same thing with a big signboard ‘No Pictures Please.’
Processing took about 1 hr and been swarned by touts and agents pretending to be from the gov to help me with the carnet n visa process for a fee. Started from 100Euro down to 5Euro after haggling and demanding from me for money. They just followed me around and pretending to help. I just ignored them.
On the turkey side border, it was a bit of a headache. First, I have to report to police, then get my passport stamped, then go to immigration to show my carnet, then to the Custom. They didn’t look at the bike, they just stamped the carnet and “Tamam”, finish they say. But actually I have to get the whole paper endorsed by 1 officer to have a look at the bike. Finding him was not easy, he doesn’t wear a uniform nor an id tag. He could be anybody, only that he carries a rubber stamp; the only thing that differentiate him from others. Anyway, I found a man with a stamp. He took a quick look at the bike… touch a bit here and there and stamp the papers. He took my passport and my carnet away and came back 10 mins later. Another “Tamam” and he asked me to leave.
Sounded too easy?
Wait. There’s more.
I Left the custom gate and headed out to main gate. At the main gate, I was stopped and the officer there ask for papers and passport.
He looked at me and said “Big Problem!” He told me to wait and so I waited. A half hour wait before he said the same thing again. I asked him what did I do wrong and he said that the Turkiye custom had done something wrong. “You wait,” he said again. Another hour of waiting before he asked me to come with him. This time he said nothing at all.
Followed him to few offices up and down, he was talking to some more officers and my passport and carnet went out of sight. Then he came back and …same thing..”follow me,” he said. I followed him, this time to the main gate. He wrote something on a piece of paper.
“Tamam”, he said and asked me to go. I looked at my passport and carnet, looking for any additional stamps that I might missed but weird…no changes at all. What could be the “Big Problem?”
Ii was given a small piece of paper of about the size of a postal stamp to be handed at the gate. Thats was it! That was the “Big Problem”! He couldn’t get it printed out, so he has to go everywhere to get it done manually. And wasted 4 hours of my time. Wasn’t that great?
Another 45 minutes ride and there I was on the beautiful campsite close to the Ishak Pasa Palace. Lil g and me got a place in between dining table. Nice and cozy place that we felt safe. With hot shower and good food! Met fellow travelers too. What surprised me was when someone said “apa Khabar” to me. Met 2 families that can still speak a little Malay. They traveled to Malaysia years ago and can still remember some words. Some even remember where they stayed,what they ate.
They described Malaysia as “magnificent”. They were so amazed with our multicultural and multi religion country and indeed were even amazed that we can live together in peace and harmony.
Now, that’s the impact when we are nice to travelers. The good words about our country and people will be spread out.
And that made me smile the whole day long.
Oh, though I got away from the heat in the south with nice n warm during the day n chill during the night, the weather greeted me with a rain. And some more the day after that. Was told this is normal in Turkey; it rains here and there. They asked me does it rain a lot in Malaysia. I told them, ” Rain? No. We just have flash flood in the city when the rain is heavy.
Some pictures to share with u guys here.
Dining hall inside Ishak Pasa Palace
Dogubayazit from the top
Another view of Dogubayazit from top
in between dining table
inside big tent
Ishak Pasa Palace
Ishak Pasa Palace entrance
Ishak Pasa Palace entrance
my camp area
Fuel is a big burn to my pocket; USD2.10 per litre!!!! It’s the most expensive so far along my journey! Gotta really plan my route well and not a drop waste.