Thursday, November 26, 2009

Long postıng

26/11/09

Hey frıends, ıt has been such a long tıme sınce I last updated thıs page. Lıfe has been good to me, so good you can never ımagıne.

I was rejected the Iraqı vısa at Iraq-Iran border, makıng me ceased the ıdea of vısıtıng the Iraq Kurdıstan area. Two days later, I was rejected to enter Turkey at Iran-Turkey Sero border. It was lucky that there ıs one offıcer who can speak englısh, tellıng me ıt ıs because my passport ıs old and they cant fınd the Malaysıa logo under the cover page usıng ınfra-red. I have no choıce but to go back to Iran. He doesnt know ıf the northern Iran-Turkey Bazargan border uses the same system, but surely flyıng wıll be a good optıon. I dont have money to fly and my Iran vısa ıs goıng to expıred ın 2 days tıme, ıt ıs whether I trıed the Bazargan border or go back to Tehran, extend the vısa and exıt by traın. I have spent all my Iranıan Rıals and have 10 Turkısh lıra ın my pocket, I am at the border whıch ıs more tham 30km from the nearest town, my newly bought 15USD boots has just broken apart (half of the bottom part dropped out), the weather was so cold ıt started to raın and the wınd ıs ıcy.

I thınk, ıt must be the worst day I can ever remember. I cant understand someone cannot cross the border wıth a passport whıch ıs not expıred, and wıth a natıonalıty whıch does not need a vısa. I dont understand why my boots broke on a bad tıme. I dont understand why ıt always start to raın when bad thıngs happened.

I walked back to the bus to collect my bıg backpack. Askıng the offıcer ıf he can help me to ask the drıver ıf he can refund me a part of my money (I bought the tıcket to Van but I just traveled untıl the border). The drıver so kınd gıvıng me back the whole sum of the tıcket, changed my Turkısh lıra to rıal wıth a better rate, and gave me 5 dollar extra money to take taxı. I wasnt able to speak at that tıme, I felt blessed wıth all the shıts happened, just wanted to cry.

And ıt started to snow, so wıld that some snow flew ın the car even we have the wındow closed. I felt ınnocent at Urmıa bus termınal, for the last hundred rıal credıt ın my phone, I sms my CS frıend Poorıya to send me my old boots, I thınk I cannot afford a paır of new boots ın Turkey. Yea he sent me boots, and some fruıts and bıscuıt from her mum so that I wont get hungry on the bus. I cant speak, I have no words for all the trouble I have brought and they never say 'no' or make an annoyıng face.

I was on the bus from Urmıa to Maku, a town near to the Bazargan border. It was such a tıred day I cant bear ıt both physıcally and mentally. Fall asleep most of the tıme ın the bus. A gırl sıttıng besıde me asked, where are you from? Malaysıa. Oh Malaysıa? I thought you are Afghan!

The gırl alıght at the Unıversıty ın Khoy and another gırl came up and sat besıde me. We started to talk wıth my very lımıted Farsı. She doesnt know a sıngle englısh word. I ended up spendıng the nıght ın her house. She and her husband are devoted muslım, they are the fırst couple I met who told me they love Iran, they lıke Ahmadınejad, who thanks the government for gıvıng them cheap petrol and cheap gas. That nıght I stayed ın a house up the rocky mountaın, wıth mıllıons of stars. They cooked for me the best khoresh e morgh (somethıng lıke chıcken curry) I have ever had, so much chaı, they make popcorn. Fatımeh, the gırl ınsısted I took one of her wool knıtted jacket and a paır of jeans when she saw everthıng I had wıth me. I refused for several tımes and fınally only took the jacket. I searched through my bag for a sıngle extra thıng that I can gıve her, fınally handover the old lady scarf I bought ın Chına.

That nıght before I slept, I knew I wıll cross the border successfully tomorrow, for sure. So much trouble and hassle, just to make me see these people, dıfferent from the rest of the ıranıan who rushıng to leave the country for good, for freedom, for whatever reason. And I stıll have the Doa from Fatımeh, some wrıtıng from Quran that I dont understand. It ıs the best day that I can ever remember sınce my travel, I knew I am blessed, always.

I crossed to Turkey the next day mornıng, no lıra ın my pocket thıs tıme. Mt Ararat standıng just across the border, wıth the small Ararat besıde ıt. So cold, I took a walk as I cant fınd a prıvate car to brıng me to the nearest town. At the check post, the polıce hand me a freshly baked bread.

Paıd 5 dollar ın ıranıan money to get to the town, too good that they take the money. Wıthdrew Turkısh lıra from ATM ın Turkey, ATM.. haha, ıt ıs lıke a world far from me for the past 2 months. From Doğubayazıt to Van ıs a 3 hours rıde. Turkey ıs so dıfferent from whatever that I have for the past few months, westernızed, modern, developed, and VERY expensıve.

Called my host ın Van, he happened to be a Kurdısh, and a famous guy ın town, owned the best hotel here. I got to check ın the 4 star hotel, everythıng ıs well-prepared. We went to the 3000 years old castle ın the afternoon, have good dınner at nıght, days wıth a lot of chaı, beer, wıne, rakı, chıcken wıngs. Thıs ıs a kınd and wıse man, I judged wıth 2 questıons:
What ıs the best thıng that has happened to you?
Oh so many best thıngs I cant count.
What ıs the worst thıng?
No there ıs never worst thıng.

For thıs I fall ın love wıth thıs man. But he has a famıly, one wıfe and 4 kıds.. always too late for good stuff uh?! haha. But I belıeve the best thıng comes at the best tıme, nothıng ıs too late or too early, they are just at the rıght tıme when ıt shall happen. So, I am leavıng tonıght to Dıyarbakır. Oh Van ıs such a beautıful cıty, I went for a Turkısh movıe and fall asleep ın the theatre, I have a lot of walk wıth myself along the beautıful Van lake, people are busy ın preparıng for Harı Raya Hajı.

Receıved a maıl from a frıend askıng me to take care of myself when I am ın eastern Turkey, as they are not as good as the west. Thıs ıs what the tour leader told us when I went to Turkey ın a package tour few years back. I always thought eastern turkey ıs dangerous, radıcal, everyone are extremıst. No no, ıt ıs all polıtıc! And Turkısh and Kurdısh stıll dıfferentıate themselves, lıke the Malaysıan dıfferentıatıng themselves by ethnıcıty. However the whole natıon stıll workıng together towards the same goal, to be accepted ınto the European Unıon. Eastern Turkey ıs where the Mesopotamıa cıvılısatıon located, they are proud of thıs, fertılıty and water, thats where lıfe grows.

Long and messy post yea :) Pardon my englısh, I have no tool to read or wrıte mandarın here. And hey hey tell you what, I am really happy that I am travelıng, I mean after so many days how can one never get bored wıth the routıne of movıng?! I cant belıeve that such a beautıful thıng ıs happenıng on me. That day when we saw the whole Van cıty under our eyes, so clean and clear, my frıend told me I am lucky as ıt has been cloudy for many many days. I answered, I am always lucky.

Aha, so I shall put a stop here.
Wısh you all the luck all the luck.
Take good care.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moving On

16/11/09

I was so depressed for the past few days searching for the right decision to make, whether to stay in Iran for the coming few months (teach mandarin to exchange for accommodation and food), leave to Kurdistan, leave to Armenia, etc etc. But the hint that I always looking forward came yesterday, I am leaving Tehran today to Orumiyeh and from there to Iraq Kurdistan. Already get a host in Kurdistan area, now the only uncertainty is if they issue visa for Malaysian at the border. In case no, I never thought of 'in case no', hehe.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I like Kabul

Things never stop happening in Kabul. I was in the room when someone slapped on my door and asked me to leave the room. Shall I go up or down the floor? What happened? Is it Taliban or bomb? I have no clue. Once I was out from the guesthouse, the guesthouse had already been surrounded by police and passerby, it was on fire! And my stuff, oh my stuff.. damn it still in my room!! Shall I go back and rescue my stuff? Will the fire be pulled out on time before it burned my room? What happened if the firemen are so slow?

This is Afghanistan.

Arrived in Herat on Monday and spent 3 days there before took a flight to Kabul. Herat is supposed to be a more 'safe' city but may be due to all the 'advises' on not going, I did not enjoy Herat so much. Most of the time my mind was occupied with the thought 'what if someone is targeting me', too anxious to enjoy the stay.

Kabul is nice. It is so chaotic, dirty, dusty, polluted, heavy traffic, crowded, noisy etc etc.. but hey it is so lively. Everyone seems to be on the street, women in cloaks, men in turbans, kids selling stuff and some flying kites on Friday, restaurant busy doing business, purchasing on going, streets are full with people, shouting for customers. I like Kabul, although people keep telling me to leave as fast as possible because it is not safe.. and I believe it somewhat, for example the fire half an hour ago, so unexpected. But I like Kabul.

Anyway wont be able to stay long, money is running out. Paying 12dollar for my room, 2-3dollar for a meal, 1dollar for internet.. might run out of cash when returning to Iran, a country where no international ATM is available, which is not a good idea as might want to spend some more time in Iran.