Today we left Quchan to go to Ashgabat. We first enjoyed the usual Iranian (awkward) hospitality of breakfast and words of farewell. Awkward because the gaurd who didn't speak english who stayed with us all night had let in another women who didn't speak english to divide our breakfast over different plates. We would have been happy to just grab some food and eat it but they insisted on dividing same sized chuncks of cheese and butter on all plates. The dividing of chunks was done such that there were always too many plates. We're pretty used to this redundant hospitality by now, but it was still weird to be leaving Iran after 8 days.
After the words of thanks and receiving a nice persian tapestry as a gift (I called dibs, it will soon be decorating our already lovely van) we got on the road. The roads we drove today were some of the most beautifull we've had untill now. At the start we went trough vast flatlands with nice roads which slowly made way for mountains and nice mountain passages. Roads were good and the view was gorgeous. Laurens enjoyed himself thorougly on the motorcycle. We had some tight corners to take and had to take over trucks in even tigther spaces. But we've been on the road for two weeks now so everyone has their driving and communication down, so it was smooth sailing.
When entering one of the cities near the border of Turkmenistan we had a minor incident where Laurens touched a taxi cab. They were on a slippery road and the taxi driver suddenly braked. The Iranian driver insisted on a compensation. During all of this fuss a flock of people build up arround the motorcycle, as usual. The taxi driver was trying to negotiate a picture of the motorcycle while he was trying to get money out of us. He got a picture of the motorcycle and everyone was happy.
The border passing of Turkmenistan went very smooth. There were no peculiarities but the process was still slow. Took about 7 hours. At the border you could see the change of people, people looked a little more Asian then the Iranians. English speaking is scarcer then ever. There was this one guy who could say "good bye" with funny intonation. He showed his great skill in saying "good bye" to all his peers who happily partook. So while a gang of twenty young soldiers were going through our vans they were all joyfully "good bye"-ing and laughing. The mood was good. Or as much as it can be when you're waiting for 7 hours.
As soon as we passed the border we saw a camel. And another one.
And another one.