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Hi everybody! How are you doing? I’m super fine as you can see in the picture!!

OK, It was the time to leave Turkey after all.

I met them in the town called Doğubayazıt which is near the border to Iran. The bigger boy asked me for money again and again but I didn’t(just gave some food) The smaller one was just smiling by his brother. He was still just innocent, never cared about money and that made me relieved. However, imagining that he would be like that after a few years, I felt really sad.

Honestly there seems to be still big gap(not only economical) between city and countryside(and probably West and East). I saw many children working on the street. Who have to save them? In my opinion, that’s what Turkish people should do, because obviously they can do that. I don’t think all the children in the world can go to school or get a plenty of food in current situation but turkey is powerful enough and people have nice mind to help each other. I hope something will be changed when I come back again, because I really love this country.

Bye bey Turkey…I called all my friends in Turkey before I entered the gate. I took more than 1 hour. That was exactly the expire date of my visa.

Iran. I changed my flag!

I was really missing Turkey for a while but actually I couldn’t feel that I had entered the different country. People are super friendly as well as in Turkey, all of them speak Turkish(I didn’t have to speak Persian at all).

But all the words written on the signs or boards are Persian. I can’t read it but it’s really cool.

Only one bad thing is that Iranian drivers are so crazy. I came across the miracle situation that 2 cars passed at the same time and 4 cars were in the parallel line on the narrow 2-lines(1 to 1) road, over 100km/h. It’s also normal that cars go back on highway or bikes come from the opposite direction in Iran. You can never cross street if you are just waiting. You have to cut into the traffic. It was so scarey but now it’s OK, I like it.

A nice thing is that roads are very clean and the routes(on which the roads are) are perfect. I mean the road goes through the mountains as the difference of height is as less as possible. This beautifully curved road reminded me of Persian characters.

Tea time on the road. They like tea as well as Turkish people.

Lunch time with a small dog. He was waiting politely. He knows how to get food.

People are really hospitable. He suddenly stopped me and suggested to stay in his office. I really don’t need to camp because they gıve me place before I try to camp. Actually the weather is still hard to sleep outside.

I met this guy, Naser on Couchsufing(that was the first time to use it) and he and his wife welcomed me to their house. I would say, if you homestay in Iran, you will get nicer service than 5 star hotel for sure. The houses are quite big and there are full of nice furniture. Iranian homemade foods are so delicious and women are beautiful. Perfect. He is taking care of me even now and always try to find the people on my way…I do really appreciate you!

Tabriz, the biggest city in the East. He was my host there, whom Neser found for me, his name is Babak.

I moved to other place the next day because there was one more guy who wants to host me. One of my friend said, “Iranian people would fight to get their guest”. They really like to host and I really like to stay with them. He is Vahid and actually architect as well. I visited his office and talked a lot about architecture. That was great time! Hope to work with you in the future!

After Tabriz, the weather was not really nice, it was very cold and sometimes snowing.

Oh my god…. The water in the bottle was frozen.

But you know, severe nature is always beautiful. I could enjoy running owing to the great equipments from my sponsor and small gift from my mother.

Do you know this one? It’s called Cairo. It has small grain of metal inside, which generates heat when it’s exposed to the air. We Japanese can’t survive in the winter without this great invention. I put it in my gloves to protect my fingers from freezing. Thanks mom!

When I was looking for the place to stay in the small town, I heard someone calling me in Japanese. I turned and saw him. He didn’t look Japanese at all but obviously Iranian, so I asked what he said. He said “Konnichiwa Nihonjin desuka” again in fluent Japanese. Then he took me to his house in a small village near that town.

He is Monem-san, who had lived in Japan and now is the tour guide for Japanese tourists. I was so happy that I could speak my language and he said he was also happy to meet me in his town where normal tourists never go. He knows perfectly about what is good to see or I have to be careful of on my way. He gave me his phone number and it has saved me a lot so far. He is like my Iranian father, who is much more reliable than my real father, oh yeah, I don’t know his number, haha!

Well, when I was looking for the place again in other city, many people surrounded me and helped me find a cheap hotel. I said I could pay up to 3 dollar but there is no such a cheap hotel in Iran (I didn’t know that). Then everybody invited me to their house and finally competed to get me. I just chose the guy who suggested at first. It was 6 students’ house but many guys came to see me(I heard them calling their friends, like “Hey! One Japanese is in my house!”). We smoked water pipe, drunk something(never alcohol I guess),danced and sang until midnight.

Sleepy guys.

When…….. again in the city Zanjan, I met the students again. I was in a sort of social welfare center which helps people who don’t have money. My friend gave me this address and told me to go there, but people there were a little bit worried because that place is not for tourists(even if I don’t have money). They, the students were passing there by chance and took me to their house. Do I have anything to meet nice people?

The next day, when……again in the small city, I asked people in the cafe where the cheap hotel is, but of course Iranian people didn’t allow me to stay in hotel. The owner told me to sleep in the cafe. Yes, I have “something” for sure.

My bike was also happy.

The next day, actually on my 25th birthday(a quoter century!), when……again in the city Qazvin, I met one man(though he speaks only Persian), who took me to his house. He lives alone and we prepared and ate dinner together, then he showed me the nice places in the city. I was feeling so happy but it happened just before my birthday ended. When we went to bed, he suddenly changed his attitude, not like aggressive or something but he whispered something close to me or touched my body. I thought he was cherishing as fathers do to their child, but it was becoming serious and I got sure he is g*y.(Thinking back upon it now, there were many hits to know it before that happened, but I couldn’t think so because ho*osexual is strictly forbidden by the law(that’s why I’m hiding some NG words with *) and religion here. He is actually serious Muslim). Oh, I have too much.

I went out of the room and called my friends. They told me to call the polis but I didn’t want to put him in jail. Then fortunately this calling made him worried about that kind of case and nothing serious happened after all. Actually I slept well even in that situation. I’m 25 years old, not just a pure, sensitive boy any more. That was the worst birthday ever but on the other hands, I had hoped something would change in myself in this trip. So in that meaning, that could be the best(craziest) birthday ever. OK, but I can do more. More and more!

In the next city Karaj, I stayed in the house of guy I met on CS, his name is Dara and his son is Siavash. They are super cool(at least not…haha) and prepared real birthday party for me(People said Qazvin is really famous as “gay city” and it’s even written on LonleyPlanet. I regretted not to have any guidebooks…). Some people gave me nice presents! Thank you soooooooo much! I’ll never forget you all!!

Tehraaan!! The capital of Iran. Super huge and high-populated city.

Here, I’ve been staying in the house of the brother of the father of the guy I met in Zanjan. He, Said-san had worked in Japan and speaks Japanese. Actually many men in his family speak Japanese, so I ‘m feeling like in Japan. They are treating me as a member of family and also for me they are my family in Iran! I got one more place to come back…see this big family!! It’s even a part of all the people I met.

In these days, I have done the short trip to the South and it will be the next story. In Tehran, I’m preparing visa for next countries and looking around the nice places, but the best time is of course just being with them. I have stayed too much again. Actually I extended Iranian visa twice because of the big problem that the gate to Turkmenistan is closed.(because of heavy snow) One Belgian cyclist told me in the Embassy of Turkmenistan. If I didn’t meet him, I would have nowhere to go in front of the gate and be arrested with expired Iranian visa. Said-san and his family have supported me for everything. I’m really lucky…

I’m leaving here soon. I really miss my family but promise to come back again! And for sure you are always welcomed in Japan. I love you and this country, from the bottom of my heart!


The next way: Tehran – Mashhad – Ashgabard


Erzurum – Tehran

5555 – 6402 / 847km


Yu Ito

February 2012
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