Pain pierced his forearm, like an electric shock. My memory suggested that the same injury had come back - a year ago I tore off my arm in Elbrus region. Then on the mountain trail after the “candle” the motorcycle flew into the gorge. They got it … It’s worse now: a hurricane wind knocked us over on the highway, when we were moving in the second row, there wasn’t enough strength to lift the overloaded motorcycle … But the good-natured traffic cop captain on leaving Baku warned: be careful, there was a storm warning … We relied on "maybe", and it would have been wiser to wait out the hurricane in the hotel, drinking the sweet Shemakha.
Due to the Beslan terrorist attack, our border guards tightly closed the border with Azerbaijan *, it can only be crossed by train or plane. And here, at the road post, dozens of trucks languished with rotting fruit - they were not taken to the market. People were not even allowed to attend the funeral of relatives, and to us travelers, the more so, nobody cared. Having lost three precious days, we went to the railway station, plunged into a freight train, crossed the border and unloaded after 15 km … When we were driving back, the ban was already lifted.
And again, a delay - at the Garadagh post of the GAI. Good-natured and not at all terrible traffic cops organized a tow truck for us, fed and watered tea. And outside the window of the post, the hurricane did not calm down. We chatted cheerfully, "licked the wounds" …
Was it worth it to go? And why, again, only together with his wife Natalia? And for what joy to rub into a half-closed Islamic Iran, where Russian motorcyclists have never been and therefore it is not clear how they will meet us? Suddenly - ax hatchet for me, and Natalia - a concubine scavenger? Yes, even in a harem of oil tycoon ?! Information about the country was hard given - collected bit by bit. Cooked an old CZ and was afraid if it could stand it. It was not easy to get a visa … Maybe those who wanted to, but then refused to join us, are right? Is any Gelendzhik and a laden coast better?.. Not for me! Adventures are not expected - they are looking for.
In the morning, a hurricane wind was replaced by a hurricane rain. Where is your heat, sunny Azerbaijan! You break us down with rain, fog, broken road …
At the border, the customs officer, having read in the data sheet in the column “motorcycle color” - “red”, looked at CZ bewildered. Miraculously, he noticed a surviving red dusty piece of gas tank, in the place where his knees rubbed dirt. He smiled and said with an inimitable Caucasian accent: “Uh, daragha, I’m driving a car…” At the last post they gave to the soldiers who were cold and damp, like we soldiers, an unfinished bottle of “Ganja” - it would disappear anyway: there was a dry river dominating the border river law. Alcohol, drugs, pornography, hard rock are not allowed into the country. We honor the laws of the “monastery” into which we drive. Try not to honor! Carve in the square!
The bridge over the river, swollen after the rain. First post on the other side, unfamiliar speech. On a neat poster, a generous scattering of squiggles, dots and commas: this is Farsi, this is a country that until 1935 was called Persia. The liberal reforms in the country, carried out, as we called it, by the "Iranian Gorbachev" - the president of Khatami, are turning the country into an increasingly secular and accessible state for foreigners.
“… Passports, visas, take off your helmets,” they commanded us. The staff works quickly, accurately, accurately. Ten minutes later, a customs terminal spilled us into the neon city of Astara, on the Caspian coast. From here the roads disperse throughout the country. We found out the prices for this and that - they were stunned: everything is cheap!
On the white marble steps of the hotel, after us, dirty traces of army chrome boots remained, in the warm lobby road dirt from suits and belongings flowed onto the Persian carpet. I am ashamed.
I am not a word in Farsi, they are in Russian. We talked on some kind of mixture: "Mr. Shuravi *, hotel - no problem, motorbike parking - no problem." Only having taken a shower in a beautiful room and having eaten fruits from the nearest shop did you come to your senses. Now we felt in Iran: we arrived!
The first three days they studied the language (it is said very much - they caught up with words), roamed the streets, got acquainted with customs, cuisine, and rules of conduct. However, in the East we are not newcomers - we “sunk” in this part of the world for a long time, even during our honeymoon trip to Karakum (by the way, we will soon play a “silver” wedding).
Iran is a multinational country, and several languages are used here: Persian (Farsi), Azerbaijani, Kurdish and Arabic. All of them are for the Slavs - that is Chinese. The alphabet and even numbers are in Arabic script. When communicating, even sign language fails. It saves that the Iranians are a very friendly and smiling people: with incredible patience they try to understand what you are asking, and in the end they understand.
The layout and appearance of Iranian cities and villages have not changed for centuries: residential quarters consist of one-two-story houses with flat roofs and courtyards, facades and interiors here are most often decorated with ornaments made of multicolored tiles - they were lined with minarets and more than a thousand years ago the domes of many mosques, madrassas (Muslim schools) and the mausoleums of Shiite saints.
The Iranians are incredibly clean: the sidewalks at the stores - and they wash with water with shampoo, garbage - not a moth. In the manner of dressing, not a bit of snobbery: a clean shirt, ironed trousers - both the bank clerk and the greengrocer look like this.
Contrary to popular belief, travelers in Iran do not have to put on a burqa - the Iranians themselves almost never wear it. It is enough to put on a head scarf and a light coat - a long to five robe with a dark color on buttons. In such vestments they also ride motorcycles. But if a woman appears with her head uncovered and her arms bare - this is perceived as hard porn. Therefore, for Natalia were forced to purchase the same "equipment". In addition, Iranian women are required to refrain from using bright cosmetics. It is not customary for men to walk barefoot, in shorts or without a T-shirt.
All our attempts to explain in three languages exactly which brand of gasoline we need, plunged refueling workers into bewilderment. When they realized what we want from them, they were stunned: there is neither “80”, nor “93”, nor “95” - there is simply “gasoline”. And at a phenomenal price: in terms of our money - 2 rubles. 30 kopecks per liter. An almost full tank is poured onto the dollar! And what a grudge! After two hundred kilometers of driving in the CZ, the black “snot” from the silencers disappeared, the engine seemed to be “cleaned by the lungs,” and he, as if recalling his distant youth, sharply picked up.