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Journey to the East|Unsolicited detour非预期的绕道

Unsolicited detour非预期的绕道

When I arrived in Tehran, I knew already I would have to face the hurdle of applying for a transit visa through Turkmenistan. I had gathered many rumors about it already: the suspension of issuing transit visa; it would take three weeks to get your passport back; the only place to apply for such visa is Yerevan, not Tehran; you better go to Mashad close to the Turkmen border first… etcetera.  Right then the looming antagonism between Israel and Iran, in itself very much a clash between East and West, suddenly came to a burst, after an Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy complex in Damascus and the subsequent retaliation with a failed rocket shower on military targets in Israel. Tensions were high, with the pressing question whether Israel would strike again?


Clearly, this was not the time to hand over my passport to Turkmen authorities for the sake of a laissez passer for an undetermined amount of time with an equally undetermined outcome. This was the moment to break my journey to the east in two, booking a flight to Uzbekistan at the other side, and continue cycling towards China.


However, the only available route was via Dubai, right before it experienced its historic, cataclysmic rainstorm. A further delay in Tehran, just before an Israeli counterattack would closed the airspace, and the subsequent chaos in Dubai, where thousands were stranded, added to my woes.


After nearly two days stuck at the airport, worrying over my missing bicycle—essential for my travels—I finally flew to Tashkent. Arriving without luggage or clarity on my belongings, the relief of being reunited with my bike four days later was immense.


Now, with approximately 6,500 km still ahead towards Shanghai, I feel a mix of relief and regret but remain driven by a deep connection to history as I resume my Silk Road route. I've spent some time reflecting on these experiences in Tashkent, details of which I'll share in an upcoming blog post.



Journey to be continued...

and to follow the Journey by





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