5th November 2010 – 413 miles
We’re sorry that we’ve not been in touch lately. We could not login to our blog whilst in Iran and this is the first time in which we’ve had access to the Internet in Pakistan. The post below kicks off from where we left it in Turkey on the way to the border of Iran so here goes:
On the way, we met Raphael and Linda, a couple of Swiss overlanders in a Toyota campervan who are driving to and around India and back. If your German is up to scratch, check out their blog www.ontheroad4real.com.
We expected the Turkish Iran border control to be particularly officious but the immigration officials were very friendly, courteous and efficient (and fast-tracked us through the whole process).
The problems arose after the passports were stamped and our fingerprints were taken. We were let loose on a sea of touts, preying on naïve and vulnerable foreigners like ourselves.
We still had to get our Carnet stamped, Green Card (Insurance), exit papers and exchange some currency.
Initially we tried to initiate the above ourselves but eventually conceded and (reluctantly) paid €10 to a fixer who ensured our safe passage through the “formalities” by some “under the table dealing”.
That morning we rang Hossein Ravaniyar, a guide-fixer recommended by Lonely Planet as “experienced at sorting out motorists’ border formality problems“. The price for his services were $80 + a bottle of whiskey + €400 for diesel tax (more about this later). We politely declined his offer to help us.
Now that we know the process, and if there is a next time …, we’ll do all of this ourselves.
Although the guide book does not mention this, and according to the touts, apparently a tax is payable for petrol or diesel usage dependent on your destination of travel. This was quoted at just over €1,000 in our case (allegedly)!
Hearing rumours of this, we wisely filled up before the border (although petrol / diesel in Turkey is quite expensive).
Now most foreigners would pay a tout some money to bribe an official to reduce this duty (still payable). As we felt aggrieved at paying this duty (if in existence), we paid the tout €50 to make sure that this issue disappears!