Border crossings are always a bit special. Sometimes you get through really quick, other times it takes a full day. Always are people around doing shady businesses. When I arrived at the Azerbaijan-Iran border there have been those little parvels standing all along the road. It did not took long before the first guy approached me, asking if I would like to take one of those parcels. No thanks, not in the mood for this shit. What, you don‘t want money? Right. I just want to be left alone. Around three times this happened, before I actually arrived at the border. I was slightly annoyed already.
Unfortunately the gates have been closed and I had to wait in front of the border. A huge crowd, around 70-80 people were gathered already. Suddenly this very big human appeared beside me. Type Persian Wrestler. Bold and of Bear-like statur. Compulsory dislocated joints and half-torn ears appeared in my mind. One of those people, that cause with their appeareance, that you listen. And you gonna try to show unquestioning understanding for everything, what this person has to say. Even if you don‘t understand a word of it.
My „leave-me-alone-with-your-stupid-parcel“ attitude changed. I would do my best to give a favour to the local folks. I couldn‘t wait to take this, whatever it was, across the border, if that would also make this person dissapear without harming me. I even would have taken the damn thing without any money.
They gave me my parcel and my new friend sqeezed me into the crowd. People realised that I was into the smuggling business now and they startet to yell and jeer as if a popstar would have arrived. Hello there. I was a bit more in front in the crowd and the gates opened to start the madness. Young men climbed over the rails and jumped into the crowd as if they would stage dive a RATM concert. Only to make a few spots within the queue. Pogo riot at the border to Iran.
Of course I did not participate in that and lined up, civilized, duteously and German-like, after climbing the first rail, to leave at least some kids and old ones behind me. And so I had to wait there. With this suspicious parcel. Btw. what was this parcel? Heroin? Weapons? I was responsible for it now and had to transport it safely into Iran. The whole situation was a bit ominous. But everyone had such a parcel in his/her hands. So it seemed okay for me. And they explained me, that I was carrying sandales.
Beside us was the womans queue on the bright side of life. The bright, blazing, hot sunshine side. One woman became unconcious during the wait. I shared my water with her, because I was the only one, who had water. Of course I would have shared my water as well, if I would not have been the only one. The border control definitely took its time. At some point we approached the first building, I was identified as foreigner, waved through the rest of the crowd and examined by the friendly border police. Leaving Azerbaijan. No problem. Then I was about to enter the Iranian side with my suspicious parcel.
First I caused amusement and shaking-heads at the Iranian border police. A little like: „Oh, now they even made this stupid tourist to carry one of those parcels to the other side.“ I just kept on smiling, naivly and dumb how I always deal with authorities and got with the „not-my-fault-isn‘t-it?“-shrug to the other side. I made it into Iran. Then the business part started, which I could not have cared less about.
I had some companion, who also had a parcel and wanted to care about my reward. I mean, I would have thrown that stupid thing into the trash or leave it in the x-ray. But he insisted to help me getting my much deserved money. My negotiating skills were taken out by missing business sense and survival instinct. But people are honest and especially the Persians are business people to the core. I got my money. Around one Dollar. And after all this incarnate mass murder has shaken my hand before, which meant the contract was achieved. And the Iranians, I would learn that soon, are world-class in shaking hands.