No, we are not in Iran yet! I am writing from Sharjah, the Emirate next to Dubai. The one from which we will leave U.A.E for Iran by boat tomorrow morning.
A little flashback is required: yesterday morning at 5:30 am we left Jean-Baptiste apartment located next to the highest tower in the world - Burj Dubai. Jean Baptiste is the brother of Marie L., a close friend of Adrien and I from Bombay. He is working in Dubai and was kind enough to welcome the supertramps we are becoming for a couple of nights. So yesterday morning, full of hope and naiveity we rode our bikes towards the port terminal of Sharjah to take a the 9 am ship to Bander Abbas. Couple of days earlier I contacted on the phone a travel agency from Dubai who told me that we could catch the saturday morning boat for us and our bikes and that there was no need to buy tickets in advance... weird, but I didn't bother as we had plenty of other things to worry about at that time. As you can imagine the customs laughed at us when we reached the port at 7 am with no ticket and customs clearance for both the bikes. The next boat was due to leave on Monday morning from the same port we were told. We spent most of our day yesterday buying the tickets in a travel agency (300 USD per person and bike...oups!) and we made the customs clearance ourselves to save 100 USD. We are learning how to cope with the administrative paperworks (I had some training working in India for over 2 years!) : It requires a lot of patience, but once again I have to thanks the people waiting in line with me who were always very helpfull. The last of the 8 agents of the customs I dealt with in Sharjah was an Indian guy from Uttarakhand (Northern India) : we had a passionate conversation about what was best : Delhi or Bombay, North India versus South India! Ah, the Indians love to argue and I like that as well! We parted our ways both happy: me because I had the customs clearance papers in my hand, and him because he was proud that we were going back to France with an Indian made bike, especially the Enfield that "has a unique (and best of course) sound, my friend!"
We are now staying in a cheap hotel in Rollas district (the district of cheap hotels as you can guess) in Sharjah waiting to leave tomorrow morning. It's a good wait : we are resting plenty. In Rollas district we are surrounded by Pakis and Keralites who made Sharjah their dormitory as the accomodations are cheaper than Dubai. Most of them seem to be commuting to Dubai everyday to build houses and skycrapers for the rich Arabs and Westerners. Everybody is parked in Districts in these Emirates. Adrien and I are the only westerns here. Our diet has not changed yet compared to India : we stuff ourselves with South Indian food and Kebabs!
Another change with Dubai : there are no women here in Rollas: just an endless crowd of beard and mustaches... I have to admit that not seeing any woman here is a bit difficult to cope with...but it can be seen as a good preparation to what is coming in Iran.
We are not riding today for 2 reasons : cars (mainly SUVs and Porsches) are driving way above 100 km per hour on the highways and we are having a hard time driving more than 70 km per hour as for now> We also didn't take any insurance for the bikes in Dubai...don't wanna be caught by the cops! It would not be possible to run away from them as they have huge cc's Yamahas!
Next post in Iran my friends, meanwhile, please check Dubai photo gallery on the right column of this blog!