Back to Central Asian Vibe

Almaty (Kazakhstan), 17.10.2013

The whole night long I couldn’t sleep, it was too cold. I woke up three times, thinking it must be in the early morning, but it wasn’t. At 05:00 I gave up and started to pack. The tent was covered in frost, -2 degrees. As I put the camping gear into the car I saw two eyes staring at me in the dark. A fox stood at a couple of meters distance and watched. Continue reading “Back to Central Asian Vibe”

Thousand Kilometers of Desert

Khovd (Mongolia), 13.10.2013

At exactly 08:00 this morning I hit the road on a sunny but freezing day. The doors of the car barely opened, and it took a while to warm the engine up. Fortunately the “hotel” at least had hot water for me (“breakfast” is not part of the vocabulary around here), so I could make coffee and tea for an extended breakfast on the road, as I drove through the vast, yellow steppe in the morning sunlight. Continue reading “Thousand Kilometers of Desert”

Desert Day

Garmeh (Iran), 22.05.2013

Although Persepolis is not in a desert, the day started with 28 degrees before sunrise. The hotel staff blasted Persian dance music at full volume from the speakers of their tent and the breakfast was practically non existent, so we had a good motivation to leave immediately and at 08:30 we hit the road to cross the desert towards the border with Turkmenistan. Yesterday night we had checked the km to drive and found that a) we were facing two intensive driving days and b) at half distance there is absolutely nothing, no village, nada. Reading our LP guide we found that approx 100 km further north there are two villages with places to stay, but it means a 200 km detour. The weather was not good, plenty of dust, bad visibility, heat. After 190 km we left the main road to the north and drove east. Here the desert starts, the real desert. There was nothing all around us. Barely a hill, a little mountain every half hour. No trees, a few dry plants, just a sea of brown and white and grey. Since the sky did not open up, we saw only a few hundred meters at a time. The road went on like this for hours. The temperature kept rising.

At lunchtime we arrived at Yazd, one of the oldest inhabited places on earth apparently. We changed money, ate some grilled chicken with bread and pepsi, and wanted to see the old town. But at 39 degrees we changed our mind and left. It was brutally hot, we could barely breathe, and there was not the slightest wind. Leaving Yazd we drove for almost an hour through inhabited areas, roundabout after roundabout. And in between for quite a while we passed the pictures, in poster size, of the Basij “martyrs”, child face after child face. Little later we fuelled up, also the two extra tanks we have with us, and the road went through the desert again, for hours. Again vast spaces of the same colours as in the morning. A couple of mountain ranges crossed our way.

We had decided to spend the night in what LP describes as an oasis village of mud houses. Indeed we passed several oasis’ in the middle of the desert. Like in the movies these sudden spots of green, palms, trees and mud houses appeared and disappeared again as we drove on to find “ours”.

10,5 hours after leaving Persepolis we reached Garmeh. A man on a motorbike showed us the way to the guesthouse. It was in a renovated mud building a bit hidden inside the village. There were other western guests and in the house no hejab was required, the girls enjoyed the freedom and freshness of taking off the veil. A light air blew through the living room where we were greeted with a cold and sweet drink. Time to relax, let this intensive day fade out. After an hour of chilling, writing, reading we ate a delicious, home cooked Persian dinner: pilaf, stew, baked potatoes, salad of tomatoes and cucumber, yogurt. After a hot tea and a shower it was time to go to sleep, since tomorrow we have a lot of km ahead of us.
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Trip data (Day/Total)

– Km driven: 744/14.868

– Hrs on the road: approx 10,5h/-

– Diesel l/100km: 7,5/9,2 (75l of diesel for 260.000 Rials / 7,93 USD)