Haval contacted me at about 8.00am and said the TV station would do the interview this morning. At about 11.00am the TV crew arrived at the hotel where Haval worked and for the next 30 minutes they interviewed me and took film of me riding the bike. I have no idea how they will edit it but I enjoyed doing it and and hope they send me a copy?
As I rode away from Arbil I had really happy thoughts about the Kurdish but I had to concentrate on the riding as it was manic. I left at 12.15 and it was so hot and whilst fighting the heavy traffic I was boiling up.
For the bikers;
If you want to venture to Kurdistan you will love the people, the culture and ridding in the mountains but the roads are really bad most of the time (there is a massive motorway building programme which is currently far from complete) and the car drivers are reckless. There are no big bikes here only a few 125’s which are about $800 new, made in Iran. So it’s you, cars and lorries and they drive straight at you at times, they have no lane discipline at all. The roads are full of pot holes some big enough to play ‘5 aside football’ in! There are ‘sleeping policemen’ in the cities and main roads which are sometimes signed and often not, they are at least twice as high as the ones in Europe and everyone has to slow down to nearly the point of stopping to cross them, add to this the police and military road blocks and ridding in Iraq is a challenge. Having said all of that I loved my time there and wouldn’t hesitate to return. Last thing, fill up before you leave Kurdistan as the petrol is a fraction of the price of Turkey.
I believe the only way to ride in a foreign country is like the locals as if you do they know how you will react to every circumstance. If you do not they they will not be able to judge your next move. Ride safe and enjoy.
I arrived at the boarder at 4.45 and by 5.45 I was through, 50 minutes getting through passport control, vehicle sign out and customs at the Kurdistan boarder and 10 minutes getting into Turkey. Everyone at the Kurdistan boarder said goodbye, come back and when I arrived at the Turkish side they greeted me like I was a brother that had just arrived back from holiday.
As I drove away from the boarder there was a cue of lorries trying to get into Kurdistan 20km long and they were two abreast. As I passed I didn’t see one lorry move, is it days or weeks they have to wait? I’ve found out why the lorries going in are full and empty coming out of Kurdistan, oil goes out goods come in.
I rode away from the horrible town of Silopi just into Turkey and at 7.00pm I rode down a small Track and pitched the tent. By 7.30 I was ready to relax. I was 500 meters off the road and other than the odd car in the distance all I could hear were insects making the familiar evening noises. The sun was behind one the mountains surrounding me and it was beautiful. A few houses had lights on up in the mountain about 10km away, so peaceful. This is my first night wild camping and I feel very safe.