02 July 2015

Kafka, Schmafka — Welcome to Iran!

Last day of bureaucracy! (I hope). Got an early start, and my guide and I headed to the traffic police to get temporary Iranian number plates. After waiting our turn, we were told they had no more plates, and we would have to go to the police in Khorramshahr to get them. But first, we would need a letter signed by the Abadan Chief of Traffic Police, and he was not in the office. And the vehicle would need to be inspected. We headed to the inspection facility, and hoped that the Police chief would arrive by the time we returned.

Inspection was relatively efficient. We handed over our documents and drove inside. The inspector asked me turn on my headlamps. I did so. He asked me to put the vehicle in reverse so he could verify that the back-up lights were working. I did so. ”Thank you, you have passed inspection.” Another signed, stamped form was added to my bulging document wallet.

We returned to the traffic police. Still no chief, but we struck up a conversation with two mysterious guys driving late model vehicles — a Toyota Land Cruiser and a BMW Z4 — with Kuwaiti plates. I’m not really sure what happened next, as most of the discussion was between them and my guide in Farsi, but a few minutes later, we had the letter from the Police chief and we were driving into Khorramshahr to pick up the number plates. I waited outside with one of the guys while my guide disappeared into the building with the other. Half an hour later my guide emerged carrying a stack of number plates. We drove back to the Traffic Police, waited our turn, filled out more forms, handed over more copies of my passport, signed and fingerprinted a bunch of documents, and finally was issued a registration card. Went outside with the new plates and waited for a guy with a drill and a rivet gun to attach them. While we were waiting, another ”customer” emerged from the building, clutching his new number plates to his chest. He kissed them and shouted ”Allahu Akbar”. I looked at him sympathetically. ”God bless Iran!” he said, ”because nobody else will!"

My new plates were fixed on top of my Qatar export plates, as I would need them when I left Iran. We were done. We drove back into Abadan, had lunch, and set off towards Shiraz. Allahu Akbar.


2 July 2015


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