Iran – Teheran

Written by Martin on August 28th, 2011. Posted in Allgemein

Sebastian: We arrive in Teheran and try to get some orientation. As often we are not at all prepared and have to stop in the middle of the highway to call our contact from KTM. He tries to explain us but in the end we take the easy way: we ask a taxi driver to show us the way to the KTM shop. Staying behind the guy was an challenge by itself since it took us a while to understand the logic and functioning of the local traffic. After studying for a couple of days I would now call it an organic mass formed by individuals that develops its own intelligence… drivers just push into crossing until the ones coming from the left or right site cannot not squeeze themselves through the gap. When this is done (when the one side has “won” the right of way) it’s their turn until the other side wins it back. Pedestrians on the other hand just let themselves fall into the traffic hoping that they will fall through to the other side of the street without being run over… at least that was my impression. So, after 20 minutes learning by doing we arrive safely at the KTM store where Babak, Reza and some clients expect us already.

They are giving us a warm welcome and we can leave our bikes at the garage before Babak brings us to our hotel. When we arrive we start to sweat… looks like an expensive place and turns out to be a 200$ a night place… ouch – there it goes our budget for the whole five days in Teheran… But ok, no harm done we find another place for the next day that we found via a weblink of the lonely planet. It’s a clean hotel with an English speaking receptionist that has answers to all questions, Mr. Mousavi who has even been mentioned in the Lonely Planet (as he shows us proudly 🙂 ). Here we will get in touch with other travelers for the first time and from this moment on it will stay a little bit like that – we are trapped in the Lonley Planet kind of traveling for some time now.

The same night we meet Babak and Pariz (he is the KTM partner) to have dinner in a quite exquisit restaurant. Our invitation is due to our bikes that we park in front of the restaurant to impress the guest (who are all involved in the motorcycle business). I have to mention that in Iran only bikes up to 250cc are allowed so our small 220kg, 1000cc, 110HP bikes do their job and people queue to take pictures. By the way, the KTM team already checked the bikes and cleaned them so they looked newer than new (and you would not want to imagine how dirty they were before). Dinner is great and while eating our two new KTM friends invite us to come with them for a motocross day two days later… whoever knows me can imagine that I was happy as a small kid (you know this enormous naive happiness?) as we confirmed the invitation. When dinner was finished we could observe an interesting cultural difference. The moment one person gets up to leave ALL of the guests jump up, say good bye to the host and leave… I mean in Europe it’s exactly the opposite: the first one who leaves is one of the uncool guys and the cool ones stay, drink and leave completely drunk when they are kindly asked to do so at 3 in the morning. So much about cultural differences :).

The next day we hang around a little bit and meet Omid, our friend from the Caspian Sea and his Spanish girlfriend Paloma (now, a couple of days later they are already married 🙂 ). Paloma turns out to be great, funny and positive Iranian woman that left to Colombia and then to Spain already many years ago. Together with them we get to know the north of Teheran which is quite different to the hot, traffic ruled and intense south. The more you drive up the more the streets get quiet, the air gets better and the city gets greener. Finally we arrive at a beautiful park close to the mountains that watch over the city from the north side. After going for a walk their they take us out for typical Ramadan dinner in a beautiful restaurant. We enjoy good food and laugh a lot before Omid drives us back home (nobody would let you walk home even if its only a 5 minutes walk) and we go to bed after once again a great day.

The next day we decide to check out the american embassy which has more a historical than any other value after the hostage-taking of the american employees in 1979. After this visit we just walk around to get back home and to inhale Teheran a little bit. We have to be that honest to say that we did not do any special sight seeing so far since we were just not in the mood for it. We needed some time to relax and the day after was our motocross day :)).

So we get up early in the morning since the meeting point is at 9.00 am. In a convoy we drive towards the mountains in the north were we find a motocross track overlooking the city. Within short time our KTM friends and their buddies built up a tent which serves at the central so to say. Here our friends unpack food, drinks and a waterpipe. Obviously Ramadan can take a brake today.

After 10 minutes all the bikes are unloaded and the guys start to drive. Some stay others just take one of the small KTMs and drives 5 rounds on the track while we are still fascinated by the place itself which is just amazing. To the one side you can see the city of Teheran lying to your feed, on the other side the mountains RAGEN EMPOR in front of you. When Babak asks me if I want to take a ride he doesn’t have to do it twice. I jump up like a nervous kid who knows it will get the present of his life :). We all ask Martin to join in and then we go for a ride up the mountain (not on the track yet). I really enjoy myself drying to do mini drifts and the-like.

A little bit later, after we already came back of this short trip, one of them asks me if I want to go on the TRACK! Now I am nervous again but more of fear than of anything else. But who doesnt know that fear that makes you want to do something really bad ?! So 1,2,3 and hop on the bike 🙂 Same story as before, we ask Martin to come with us and on we go! Juhuuuu! This is just a blast! I am sure I looked awfully ridicolous but it felt just so great. After 2-3 rounds I even try to jump even though I know its damn stupid to do so with my “track experience” but ok, I guess I flyyyy around 1m before falling back on the floor. After 5 rounds they tell me to stop and we go back (I would have loved to continue!!!).

The third big action this day is that we take our adventures up the hill to a parachute jumping base. What was easy and nice with the small bikes is a little bit heavier and slower with the 220 kg ladies but still works out fine. After a photo shooting we decide to go a little further up and this is where I have the first “my heart is going to stop any second” moment of the trip… Riding along we arrive at a point where the dirt road goes up a steep (really steep) hill for around 500m. My passenger (I have somebody on the backseat) just tells me to accelerate like crazy. Again I feel this fear and just pull the throttle. We easily advance until we reach the last maybe 50 meters where the back of the bike starts to linger like crazy. I stay on the gas and I do not know how but we safely arrive. I am happy but only have two things on my mind: “Martin, please do NOT go up here!!!” and “How the hell am I going to come back down???!!!!”

When I look down the hill Martin and two of the others stopped and I feel relief. I tell Reza, one of the buddies who also went up already to go back down and make sure that Martin stays where he is, safely at the bottom of this hill. When they chat down there I think that everything is ok but after I turned my head for a second and look back what do I see??? Martin accelerating like a freak and driving up the hill… oh NO! Exactly like it happened to me before his back wheel starts to write big S in the sand before he arrives safely at the top. All of us clap our hands and we scream as if he had won a big price. Very nice you might think but… we had to get down again! Martin had the same thought and we really start to get worried about ourselves.

Our friends start to explain us how to do, “only the front brake, not the back brake” – huuuu? Well ok, if you say so, I will give it a shot I think without being convinced. Siamac, the guy who was my passenger before has a great idea offering to ride with Martin down the hill to indicate him what to do… You cant imagine Martins look when Siamac said this! Given the fact that Martin never took anybody with him in a bike before it was hard to imagine that THIS should be the first time. Siamac insisted so we decide to go. Me first (uahhh). I start to role and get to a speed of over 60 in the first gear. Braking with the front brake would be suicide so I just let it flow let it go… only thought on my mind: “pleaaaaaassssse, no accident, pleaaaaasssse!”. I arrive in one piece and look up to Martin who is preparing with Siamac. I am almost convinced that they will fall and hardly can keep looking as they start to role and to get faster and faster as I did before. Siamac starts to raise his hands indicating that Martin is completely crazy. I even think for a moment he is joking around but when they arrive and he swears like hell on the backseat I know that he too became really scared while driving down. In the end we make it back to the camp without any fatalities and cannot hardly believe what we just did that very moment and also how amazing our day was!

At night Babak invites us for dinner and we get to know his family, his wife and two daughters. We discuss for some hours before he brings us home where we fall into bed after on of the best days so far on this trip – dead tired of course. The next morning we have to pick up the motorcycles which we left at the shop and yet again they are shining like new. Now its time to say good bye and we leave direction Esfahan with a great memory of Teheran, not because of the city (which we hardly got to know the “tourist way” but because of what we were able to experience with all those nice people…