At The Indian/Pakistani Suremanqi border post. I celebrated St, Patrick's Day by running India, 2,888km.
I have been busy these last few days trying to get set up for the next leg of the run.
That will be from Kerman, if all goes well for my last bit of route checking around the Eastern Iranian city and I can get there over the booked out Iranian New Year holiday season. You may well remember I mentioned that Iran will start from Mashad. Well I got thinking that Kerman is a better ‘ match up ‘ almost perfect on the map from where I finished running India at the Sulemanqi Border post right on the Pakistan border.
Press > HERE To see this segment.
The Taj Mahal
Also by restarting in Kerman I am eliminating Afghanistan from being skipped as you can see it will now be more or less just Pakistan which will not be run for security reasons.
The big news now is that I have decided I want to run Iran and Turkey with just my backpack. This will probably be the most difficult backpack section of the run, at least the Iranian part will be due to wide open, almost desert areas. So I decided at huge expense to move Nirvana, my cart on ahead to Istanbul. I probably should have just posted her home at this stage but at the same time I hope to get some relaxing months in in Europe and it will be a nice change to do a bit of camping.
I have sometimes pushed supplies and camping gear through remote or cold areas. I had her stored in the Irish embassy in new Delhi.
In Istanbul another new running friend called Caner will mind her till I run into the Bosporus city in June. I got this idea on my last day in India and put out a call for contacts and these lads answered, thanks lads!
I decided to fly to Istanbul and deliver her personally and got hammered by a late change to the flight and crazy excess baggage charges. Tonight, Thursday I am Istanbul. I arrived via Doha, Quator this evening and hope to get a flight to Teheran tomorrow night.
Doha was an interesting place, even if I was only there for a few hours. On the descent the city seemed to be all lakes, marinas in the middle of a desert with man made roads criss-crossing the lakes, very picturesque, Haven’t seen anything pretty in a few months now!
No transit visa required we were just corralled by bus into a transit terminal. A lot of rich looking sheikhs with snow white robes, but they were travelling in economy with their burka clad women.
And an expensive place too for a coffee or tea was US$5 and a club sandwich $7
As I said I will make my way to Kerman and start running from there towards Istanbul.
Remove Sulemanqi from the above Google map link and that will be my actual run route, 3,800km.
The Taj Mahal
Tonight I was picked up at the airport by another runner called Ercan, We had a delicious dinner in the plush Timeless gourmet bar. Ah! Yes beef at last, real food for the already small Indian portions got even smaller as I ran closer to the west of the country, gone was rice off the menu, thank God for chapatis! And yes real tea, Turkish chai, no shot glasses of tea here!
With Ercan on my left and the staff of the Timeless gourmet bar in Istanbul during my logistical flying visit.
Thanks to the Irish embassy staff for their help in New Delhi and especially to Damien from Dublin who brought me back to his place to chill out and have a TEAriffic time drinking all his Lyons teabags. He is married to Louise also from Dublin and they have a lovely two year old daughter Eliana. Then he got up at 4am to see me off at the taxi – that is after making a return journey to the embassy to pick up my gear.
The flight here was very stressful as I didn’t make the flight I was booked onto as Air India screwed up. And the one I eventually got at 9am with all that money paid out I only made with minutes to spare.
Having a late start after sleeping in a Dhaba on a ' charpoy ' rope bed as mentioned many times in the blog. No charge, you just are expected to eat, No problem
Also thanks to Manish who helped me out in his village a few days ago when I had an audience outside a Sikh temple with about 40 locals before sleeping there that night. He speaks very good English as he worked in Australia for five years. Next morning they gave me a turban which I ran withfor two days right to the Pakistani border.
I had a very pleasant time in this small village. Manish is 2 places to my left wearing the striped tracksuit pants.
So that’s the plan, I am very excited by this segment, then it will be Europe as we all keep on saying. It was nice arriving in the airport today, All those shapely beautiful blondes! haven’t seen any these past couple of months.
And yes, civil people not running you over on the road or street. I love the Turks, and the Iranians too. Am away from all that filth and dirt back in civilization and as a friend said to me in a private email. ‘ Yes Tony India is the ultimate head-trip!` There were times there when I wondered if I was going mad!!
Now for some Turkish Delight before I Ran!
Cow and buffalo dung patties as mentioned in earlier blog. This house is built from it as you can see.
Pigs eating from a rubbish pile in the middle of yet another Indian village
A truck tyre repair. Just a rubber patch studded in with studs.
Friday night I stayed in the home of Baris Aksahin a triathlete. A very interesting man as he was born in Turkey but moved to England when he was six years old where he lived for for 35 years. He has a very strong English accent working for a change in the Turkish political system. He returned to Turkey 8 years ago to discover his Turkish roots.
He set up a political party that is the first in the world…a “Leaderless” party called the Gezi Party (www.gezipartisi.org.tr) Where the party assembly makes all the decisions and the media only sees the party representative that is chosen by the party assembly to speak on their behalf. They do not focus on the political differences, but instead uniting people along core values of Individual Freedom, True Democracy, Universal Human Rights, Justice for All and Independence. To bring all people of all ideologies to the table under one roof and working to find common sense solutions to today’s problems. Their motto is: Gezi Party is a new beginning…a grassroots movement for change, by the people for the people.
- With Baris and Ercan having a long, long delicious Turkish brunch.