After being 3 weeks in Iran, virtually doing nothing, now I am back into my life, traveling around, in Afghanistan again.
I started quite early from a neighbourhood near the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad. When I was asking for direction for taking the bus, I was helped by a man from Tehran who was doing business in Jakarta and Bandung. He praised Jakarta to be a modern city and Bandung to be interesting traditional town (?).
I took the direct bus from Mashhad to Herat. It was 60,000 Real. I was warned by my friend not to take the international bus, despite of the cheap price, due to the massive check from the Iranian officials toward the Afghans. It was the case coming to Iran from Afghanistan, as Iran worried about smuggling of drugs from their cute neighbor. I thought it should not be the case for the opposite way, as Afghanistan usually doesnt worry of anything coming to their country, and as today was Friday, there should be not many people lingering around the border.
It was indeed a straightforward process. The luxurious Volvo AC bus only had 10 passengers, all Afghans but me, and there was no check at all along the way leaving Iran. The Iranian border also didnt check the luggage of the border crossers. We only had to queue for immigration stamp officer who only concerned about passport holder’s name, photo, and visa. It was very straightforward.
The Afghan side, I have never met any immigration check as laid back as this one. I gave my passport opened on a page which I wanted him to stamp, he just immediately put an entry stamp on it, no registration, no interview, not even bother to check my photo page or my Afghan visa. He thought I was an Afghan border crosser who just needed an entry stamp. It was indeed possible for me to come here without visa. The process only took me 3 seconds. The most efficient immigration process I have ever experienced. And of course, coming to Afghanistan there was no luggage check at all.
And now I am in Herat again. Arriving here, the Iranian driver was fighting with an Afghan passenger, included harsh punching and kicking, until the Afghan army came to the bus to stop the fighting. Iranians could be very rough in fighting, and I saw two street fightings on Mashhad street.
Would start the journey very soon through the central route of Afghanistan to Kabul and then rush to Tajikistan.