Iran visa hazzle

"Come back tomorrow morning, 9 o'clock", the strange secretary in the Iranian embassy told me when I showed up on wednesday afternoon to collect my visa, as she told me. No further comment. After a sleepless night in the bus back from Cappadokia that was not exactly what I wanted to hear. So I went back to my CS host in Macka, had another dinner with his mother and another chat with his friends and another night in a comfy bed. The next morning, we had a huge goodbye breakfast and I left to Trabzon, for the fourth and fingers crossed final time. When I arrived at the embassy, two french girls were hanging around in front of the gate and got some turkish lessons by the policeman in charge of security. Then I went in, the strange secretary first asked me to sit down, then realised that I applied for the visa already last week, then asked me to wait and after one our she asked me to leave. "Come back afternoon, 4 o'clock". "Is there a problem?" I wanted to know. "No problem, no! Visa get only afternoon". Alright, I went back to the policemen's hut, had a little chat and then went for lunch with the french fellow sufferers. When we went back at the embassy at 4, we were told to come back at half past 4, and when we went there at half past 4, we were asked to come back in 5 minutes. It was very strange, but this way me made friends with the police man in his little hut in front of the gate. I think, despite sitting in there all day, he has a very interesting job. Everyday he meets a lot of travellers, and experiences their hope, joy and desperation.


Being invited by tourists

We finally got the visa and went to the seaside to celebrate it with a beer. It happened that one Saudi Tourist family invited us to join their picknick. Two brothers were preparing the food and showed us their 15 l pressure cooking pot and the 10kg bag of Indian rice they brought on the plane. One of them told me that this is a special rice and you don't get something like this in turkey. It was from the year 2013, supposed to be a very good vintage. It occured to me that for Arabs, rice is their wine. After a while, the women and daughters came back from shopping and the father introduced us to 5 pairs of eyes, hidden in black curtain. They all looked alike to me and until the end I didn't figure out who was who. The women and children were very interested in the ukulele, tried to play it but had no idea how a musical instrument works whatsoever. It was so sad to realize that back in Saudi Arabia, they live a life without music, dancing, and a lot of other joys that are just natural for us. Turkey is a little bit better, but still I had the impression that there is not a lot of culture going on. I haven't seen a single poster for a concert, didn't find any museum except for the Atatürk museum, there is no street art, no exhibitions, nothing. Even the architecture is boring like hell. Plain cheap housing blocks, often unfinished and without plastering.

Welcome to Georgia

So it was quite a positive surprise when two days later, I crossed the border to Georgia and spend the night in Batumi. Certainly an average city in Western standards, but a completely different world compared to Turkey. I found nice little old wooden houses next to skyscrapers, graffiti, girls with short skirts, guys with tank tops, a sealine that is taken care of by gardeners and cafes with electronic music. There are pianos standing on public places that everyone can play, a nice project. In the evening there are free concerts. I wanted to stay only one night, but I didn't consider the Georgian culture good enough. It happened that in the courtyard of the hostel, I found myself with a bunch of people from different countries. Tthe old Georgian hostel owner (and toast master) told a lot of stories, we were exchanging experiences and explaining traditions of our countries, and for every story you have to drink a brimfull glass of vodka, no excuses. There is always an appropriate toast. A toast on travelling, a toast on all the people he didn't meet yet (I particularly liked that one), a toast on the women. When I woke up the next morning with a head that's full up like a landfill, at 11 o'clock, of course I didn't check out. The next evening, kind of the same story. It's a vicious circle. I'm in a trap. I am sitting in the courtyard again, with a hangover at 12, the thermometer shows 37°C, and I was offered the first beer. Can someone come and get me out of here, PLEASE??? I will never make it somewhere else.



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