Leaving their luggage at the hotels reception the boys went back by taxi to the customs area to try and get Lipstick through customs.

Passing a small Café in the customs area the team was approached by a “Fixer”
who offered his assistance with all the paperwork for a fee of 20USD which the guys happily accepted as both their Iranian reading and talking skills would cause a big problem when communicating with customs officials.

The carnet de passage and other paper work was given to Mr. Fixit and indeed within half an hour all paperwork was done and Lipstick could get through the gates and onto the streets of IRAN.

With the help of “Fixit” an insurance company was located and an extra car insurance for third party claims was obtained and then Lipstick headed towards Teheran along the coast line of the Caspian Sea at first…
 
Andre outside the insurance office
Andre outside the insurance office…

This area of Iran is highly populated and a small town or city can be found almost every 10 km with green vegetation on either side of the road. There are many small stalls on the roads selling fruits and vegetables…
 
Good roads alongside lots of green with mountains full of trees
Good roads alongside lots of green with mountains full of trees –Black Forest?
NO – IRAN at the Caspian Sea…
The road was leading Lipstick from Astara first to Rasht which is further inland from the Caspian Sea and shortly afterwards mountains had to be climbed…

Rasht is the largest city on Iran’s Caspian Sea coast. It is a major trade center between Caucasia, Russia and Iran using the port of Bandar-e Anzali.

Rasht is also a major tourist center with the resort of Masouleh in the adjacent mountains and the beaches of Caspian as some of the major attractions.

Historically, Rasht was a major transport and business center which connected Iran to Russia and Europe, and because of this was known as the “Gate of Europe“.

 The city has a history that goes back to the 13th century but its modern history dates back to the Safavid era during which Rasht was a major silk trade center with numerous textile workshops….
 
Rasht in northern Iran.
Rasht in northern Iran.

After going through valleys and mountains Lipstick passed thehuge Sefridud dam close to Manjil which is part of a hydro power station close by…
 
Sefridud Dam supplying electricity together with hundreds of Windmills
Sefridud Dam supplying electricity together with hundreds of Windmills…
The green vegetation seen along the Caspian Sea was now a thing of the past and a more desert like surrounding with temperatures of 45 degrees faced the roads towards Teheran.

Road signs did not help any more as they were written in strange language and letters…
 
The Garmin navigation system also could no longer give directions
The Garmin navigation system also could no longer give directions so team Lipstick relied on the Delorme tracking device to give them approximate directions when approaching intersections.

Arriving at a toll road the official waived Lipstick though with amazing words…
“You come from other country – you need not pay” – what a nice gesture and welcome to Iran!

The roads became very windy but were wide enough to stick obey the minimum speed as per the various road signs along the road
 
Soon the area levelled out and Lipstick was cruising at some 1500 m above sea level
Soon the area levelled out and Lipstick was cruising at some 1500 m above sea level on beautiful 2 lane highways through the semi desert leading to Teheran.
 
outskirts of Teheran

 
Arriving at the outskirts of Teheran
Arriving at the outskirts of Teheran and being unable to navigate streets with the Garmin Navigation system caused quiet a problem for team Lipstick and so the boys decided to follow the biggest traffic and look out for a sign which would lead to the centre of the capital of Iran. The problem was multiplied by the fact that both boys received strong signals from their bladders that the time would be right to for a big relieve…

In the middle of Teheran’s centre a petrol station was found and with gestures and English and German language the owner was convinced that he should show the boys his toilet as a matter of great urgency.

He indeed was an extremely friendly person and could speak a few words of broken English when team Lipstick asked him where the closest hotel could be found

The boys asked him to please write the address down in his own language so that it could be shown to a taxi driver. here is the note:
 
here is the note
With such good ammunition available the boys decided that the only way to go about things would be to get a taxi which drives in front of team Lipstick to reach the suggested destination.
 
Andre successfully waves a taxi down in heavy Teheran traffic...
Andre successfully waves a taxi down in heavy Teheran traffic…
And Willy tries to stay at the tail end in chaotic traffic conditions realizing that if he looses sight of the yellow cab then it would be a huge task to find Andre again who left his cell phone in the car and communication between the team was therefor not possible.
 
Loosing sight of the taxi in front was no option at all...
Loosing sight of the taxi in front was no option at all…

The hotel destination was finally reached with some hairy traffic manoeuvres and Lipsticks bull bar was in high alert…

After having settled into the hotel the boys started to walk around the blocks trying to fid some money exchangers – however no one was even thinking of changing any of the Azerbeidschan or Kazakhstan currency left in team Lipsticks wallets.

So the boys decided to eat at the hotels restaurant and charge the meal to their rooms for the time being…
 
Imam Jaafar Sadek Mosque nicely lit up at night in Tehran
Imam Jaafar Sadek Mosque nicely lit up at night in Tehran
`
After a nice breakfast the next morning team Lipstick went to town and found an amazing shopping mall with a huge electronics and computer centre where Andre could replace his lost cell phone charger.

One of the shop owners was an extremely helpful guy who could speak good English and he went out of his way to assist and give tips of what to see in Teheran.

His name was Ali and he went as far as accompanying the boys to get an Iranian sim card from MTN Iran and with this on hand the team can now again communicate whilst in Iran and not close to Wi-Fi zone.

Teheran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 9 million in the city and 16 million in the wider metropolitan area, Tehran is the largest city and urban area of Iran, the 2nd-largest city in Western Asia, and the 3rd-largest in the Middle East.

It is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan are.

There have been plans to relocate Iran’s capital from Tehran to another area; due mainly to air pollution and the city’s exposure to earthquakes. To date, no definitive plans have been approved. A 2016 survey of 230 cities by consultant Mercer ranked Tehran 203rd for quality of living.

According to the head of Tehran Municipality’s Environment and Sustainable Development Office, Tehran was designed to have a capacity of about 700,000 cars but currently more than 5 million cars are on the roads…

 

Later in the day the boys visited The Grand Old Bazaar which is simply huge and buzzing with people. It was here that they also found a money exchanger who willingly exchanged their Azerbeidschan and Kazakhstan money into Iranian Rials.
 
Andre – the appointed treasurer of team Lipstick – is negotiating exchange rates..
Andre – the appointed treasurer of team Lipstick – is negotiating exchange rates..

It became unbearably hot during the walk in the grand bazaar and the isles inside the covered area is covered with many many shoppers and shop owners doing their dealings in many types of goods from textiles,shoes,home ware, kitchen appliances and many many spice shops which create an “Arabic” smell in the centre.

Exhausted and tired from the heat the boys went back to the air-conditioned hotel planning the way forward for their trip to Turkey the next day.
 
Andre is suffering with his heat resistance…
Andre is suffering with his heat resistance…
 
Alternative modes of transport in Teheran
Alternative modes of transport in Teheran…

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