restless in Mashhad

Dear friends.

I arrived exactly in Mashhad compleating 5 years of steppps peacewalk. The actually anniversary I stayed in bed. Steppps walked since 28.4.2012 14.478 km.

Mashhad, the city of Imam Reza with his holy shrine. Mashhad, the destination of so many pilgrims coming from everywhere in the Muslim world. Second biggest mosque in the world, and 15-25 million pilgrims every year come here, to pray at the shrine. So many miracles and surprisingly solutions for any kind if problems are reported. More a little bit later.

I am really in need for a good rest, but at the second day in Mashhad I have to get first to the Afghanistan embassy. In Tehran (Afghanistan embassy there) they have told me, that it takes 6 days to get the Visa here. Surprise. They tell me now, that I have to get back to Tehran, to get the Visa there. Uppps.

Two visits at the Parkistan embassy have not really a result too. They want to call me back. So I book with the help of a friendly Mehdi, (he is somewhere around 45+-, son of Afghanian refugees, born in Iran, has never been in Afghanistan at all. Afghanians here are not allowed to get a Iranian passport.) a night train to Tehran.

I can’t stay in that relativ expensiv Hotel any longer, so I found another Hotel, cheaper, for one night. All my contacts, I had before, offering me a place to stay, can’t fullfill there announcements and promises out of different reasons. Congratulations. Hmmm

Night train to Tehran. Embassy of Afghanistan in the morning. They want 130$, puh.  But I could pick it up in the afternoon. But there are a bit corrupt. Soon after a person in the motorcycle comes and want to cash the money. I don’t have so much dollars anymore so I pay 80$, the rest I want to pay in Real. Uppps. The rate for that is so bad that I wake up. There is something wrong. Because the Visa is regularly only 80$ they want to make with an ‚express service‘ some extra illegal money. The motor cycle guy cashed the money, gives only 80$ to the official embassy worker, and the rest they share later. So the embassy worker never touched any black money. I ask again and find out that I have to wait with no express service 2 days for the Visa. Ok.

I go to the Parkistan embassy. It’s to early to ask for that Visa.

The night will be on the floor of a very small Caravan of Manfred, German, whom I bumpt in during the day. This guy is amazing, he is now in his 60th but he went by long distance truck driving from Germany until India and most of the north African states. He has a lot of stories to listen too……

In the afternoon, after a nice magical time in Laleh park,  two girls, Aylar and Roshanak, speak to me. We have a nice conversation and a cinnamon tea together. The same evening they organized for me a stay in a friend’s flat. I can come the next night. Oh that’s great.

And it’s really great. Artin, with German and Iranian passport has decited to live for a while again in Tehran. He grew up in Köln. It’s his parents flat, which they kept. And it’s a guy with inner space. He is also meditating. We have a real good time together including meditating together with up to 4 people. How wonderful. (One of his friends is a Vipassana practitioner. But the only Center was closed by he government shortly before. Now the practice in the underground) At the last day there, I have so much fun to offer and clean his really needy fridge before I take the night train back to Tehran.

The Visa for Afghanistan I picked up 2 days before. Luckily I saw already in the embassy, that they gave my a wrong Visa. I the time waiting for the right Visa I meet Ali, a buisiness men, who has a company in Herat. He offered me any kind of help, when I am in Herat. He payed 880$ for a 1 year Visa with multiple entries to Afghanistan. Not to believe.

When I came back to Mashad I had a offer again, to stay with someone, but they did not communicate with me during the whole day. I was so tired, could not sleep in the night train. Too warm. So I waited all day for a message, which came at 22.30h that night,  when I already booked a cheap hotel again. But I could come the next day.

Anyway, I had another problem to solve. I had no money anymore. So I found Madjid, who help in this kind of helpless situations. Because sanctions are officially not there anymore, but in fact it’s still the same isolation of the country. So no money transfer is possible into Iran. At least not on direct way. So this guy has a account in Dubai, through which the money has to come……. This is a very long story, it took us 5 full mornings to make it happen. There where some extra obstacles with my PayPal account, because I do not have any German phone number anymore to recieve a pin code…. So my sister had to help me. Also we had to call several times the PayPal service in some random country with the code +353, but we couldn’t solve the problem. Finally. He had this solution. From my account my sister transfered to a German friend of Madjid the money. He paypaled it to Madjids PayPal. Then another transaction to his Dubai account and finally to his Iranian account. In the mean time, any time I went to his office, I made a lot lot lot of Peace birds. Yesterday I got the money with some reduced fee for me, he said the first time in his company history. Also some loss in changing rates from € – $ – Dubai Dinars to Iranian Real. Hihihi.

In the meantime I stayed with Amir one night, two night for free in 2 different hotels with a lot of tohuwabu around what was very exhausting. Because of moving in my ‚rest time‘ so often, I decided to stay in one cheap hotel, now since already 6 nights. But I can’t tell, that I had I real rest time at all since I arrived in Mashhad. So many things, so many stories, so many many restlessness things…..

All together, I walked in my ‚rest time‘ in Mashhad and Tehran, 70km. Hihihi

As a real rest I can only mention 1 1/2 days in Tehran. 

All together, I can say. Since maybe Neyshabur, but surely after crossing the mountains and arriving to Mashhad, the energy has changed. People have different face shape, behavior is different, there are always all this pilgrim’s in the city, which behave somehow as being in a hurry. This shrine attracts surely also a lot of businesses. Maybe they are also a bit more conserative….. and a city is anyway often restlessness.

So. It seems that I continue walking tomorrow morning towards the Afghanistan border – 250km – then Herat – another 150km – .



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