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Mashhad

Selimut Debu 83: Pakaian

Gerbang perbatasan ini memisahkan kehidupan sampai seratus tahun. Tidak peduli dari negara mana pun, bepergian menuju atau dari Afghanistan sama seperti melewati mesin waktu. Kendaraan mobil Iran ini melaju menuju Mashhad di atas jalan beraspal mulus. Tak ada lagi penderitaan gurun berdebu dan menelan pasir sepanjang hari. Tak ada lagi keledai dan barisan domba yang bersaing ruas jalan dengan mobil dan motor. Tak ada lagi perempuan anonim di balik burqa. Tak ada jubah, serban, gubuk reyot, ranjau darat, bom, perang, dan kelaparan. Iran adalah negara modern. Toko-toko berjajar rapi. Makanan yang populer di sini adalah burger dan sandwich, dijual dengan minuman bersoda produksi dalam negeri. Blokade ekonomi menyebabkan negeri ini mandiri, hampir semua barang adalah produksi dalam negeri. Mobil kuno Paykan melaju di jalan, menyemburkan asap hitam. Terminal bus Mashhad adalah bangunan besar yang bersih, dengan berbagai perusahaan angkutan yang kantornya sudah setara dengan biro travel maskapai udara di Indonesia. Karcis bus dicetak rapi dengan komputer, dengan kertas dan penampilan mirip tiket pesawat, padahal harganya teramat murah—60.000 Rial (saat ini setara dengan Rp 60.000) untuk perjalanan seribu kilometer sampai ke Teheran. Bus berjajar rapi menunggu jam keberangkatan. Tak ada tanah yang lengket karena oli bocor atau sampah bertebaran. Semua begitu [...]

February 19, 2014 // 3 Comments

Selimut Debu 82: Beringas

Eksodus. Orang-orang Afghan ini seperti kesetanan, begitu buru-buru hendak meninggalkan negerinya sendiri, menuju Iran di balik gerbang sana. Aku tercekat melihat barisan panjang ini. Barisan pria-pria berjubah shalwar qamiz menenteng barang bawaan berkarung-karung. Mereka marah, berteriak penuh emosi, seakan semakin keras berteriak dan semakin garang kepalan tangannya akan semakin cepat mereka sampai ke pos pemeriksaan paspor. Aku melangkah gontai masuk ke barisan. Melihat bahwa panjang barisan ini sudah lima puluh meter dan nyaris tak bergerak maju, entah sampai kapan kami akan menginjakkan kaki di Iran. Matahari panas menyengat. Keringat mengucur deras. Orang-orang mengomel karena tidak efisiennya pos imigrasi Afghan. Sebenarnya kalau bukan karena lusinan polisi Afghan berseragam hijau abu-abu yang berkeliling dengan pentungan, pasti sudah sejak tadi para pelintas batas ini akan menyerbu loket imigrasi dengan beringas. Tiba-tiba ada tangan besar mencengkeramku keluar dari barisan. ”Khareji! Orang asing!” Polisi menggeretku ke arah polisi yang menjaga pintu kantor imigrasi. Sebagai orang asing, ternyata ada fasilitas yang boleh kunikmati dan harus kusyukuri: aku bisa langsung memotong antrean panjang warga Afghan. Untuk menyeberang ke Iran, warga Afghan harus melewati banyak pemeriksaan. Barang mereka digeledah dengan teliti. Opium termasuk komoditi yang sering diselundupkan lewat perbatasan ini. Tak heran, dengan lebih dari seribu orang pelintas [...]

February 18, 2014 // 2 Comments

Selimut Debu 81: Visa Iran

Besok adalah hari kemerdekaan Indonesia, dan dari Herat sini kedutaan Indonesia yang paling dekat adalah di Teheran. Aku sungguh ingin melewatkan Agustusan tahun ini dengan teman-teman sebangsa. Mungkin karena hidup terlalu lama di jalan membuat rasa kebangsaanku sekarang jadi menggebu-gebu. Teheran terletak di Iran. Itu sudah negara lain. Menurut informasi terbaru, Iran sudah memberikan fasilitas bebas visa untuk WNI yang berkunjung kurang dari dua minggu. Tapi kedutaan dan konsulat Iran memberikan informasi yang saling berlawanan tentang hal ini. Konsulat Iran di Peshawar, Pakistan mengatakan bahwa fasilitas bebas visa berlaku untuk semua perbatasan darat. Sedangkan kedutaan di Tashkent juga setuju, namun katanya cuma untuk satu minggu. Sedangkan kedutaan Iran di Jakarta tidak pasti tentang perbatasan darat dan menganjurkan aku untuk terbang ke Iran. Sedangkan kedutaan Iran di Kabul mengatakan aku memerlukan visa untuk berkunjung ke Iran dalam keadaan apa pun. Semakin bertanya, justru aku semakin pusing. Konsulat Iran di Herat sudah penuh dengan ratusan pemohon visa yang berbaris mengular sampai 200 meter, bahkan pada pukul 8 ketika aku datang. Katanya orang Afghan sudah mulai mengantre sejak pukul 4, padahal konsulat baru buka pukul 7. Sepertinya tidak ada kesempatan untukku jika aku mengantre sekarang. Bisa sampai di Teheran besok? Lupakan saja! Untunglah [...]

February 17, 2014 // 2 Comments

Garis Batas 80: Turkmenistan Menyambut Anda

Pintu gerbang Kota Cinta Ashgabat (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Kota terakhir Iran sebelum memasuki Turkmenistan adalah Guchan di utara Mashhad. Serpihan Iran yang satu ini memang bukan kemegahan macam Tehran Di kota ini gubuk-gubuk tersebar semrawut di kaki-kaki gunung berdebu. Iran, negara kaya raya ini, ternyata punya juga daerah yang morat-maritnya mirip Pakistan. Perbatasan Turkmenistan di desa Bajgiran masih 75 kilometer lagi. Bajgiran sudah seperti dunia lain. Padang-padang hijau menghampari kurva mulus bukit-bukit, membuat saya seakan sudah berada di Asia Tengah lagi. Kalau bukan tulisan-tulisan huruf Arab bahasa Persia, serta perempuan-perempuan yang dibungkus chador hitam, mungkin saya sudah lupa kalau saya masih di Iran. Penukar uang gelap berebutan menjajakan uang Turkmen. Semua membawa kresek hitam besar-besar, yang isinya hanya duit. Sebegitu tidak berharganya kah uang Turkmenistan sampai dibungkus kresek seperti dagangan kismis? Mata uang Turkmenistan namanya Manat. Nilai tukar resmi pemerintah Turkmenistan, 1 dolar = 5.500 Manat. Tetapi harga pasar gelap 25.000 Manat, hampir lima kali lipat. Tanda-tanda negara dengan perekonomian tidak sehat. Walaupun duitnya kecil, pecahan terbesar uang Turkmen hanya 10.000 Manat, yang kira-kira 3.600 Rupiah saja. Saya hanya menukar 100.000 Rial (kira-kira 100.000 Rupiah) dan langsung mendapat sekresek uang Manat pecahan 5000-an. Rasanya benar-benar seperti beli sekantung kismis. Di setiap [...]

October 3, 2013 // 2 Comments

#1Pic1Day: Festival of Death (Iran, 2010)

Festival of Death / Festival Kematian (Mashhad, Iran, 2008)     Festival of Death (Mashhad, Iran, 2008) Black is the color dominating important dates in Iran. Men-in-black parade through the boulevards. They beat their heads and chests, flagellate their backs with metal chains. Sometimes you hear weep and mourning amid busy band noise and harmonious chanting. Most of important religious events in Iran are related to martyrdom of the saints, and are commemorated in full swing. The most important event is Ashora (Martyrdom of Imam Hussain) and Arbain (40 days after the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain). In this picture is commemoration of the Demise of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Martyrdom of Imam Hassan.   Festival Kematian (Mashhad, Iran, 2008) Hitam adalah warna yang mendominasi hari-hari besar di Iran. Para lelaki berbaju hitam berarak menyusuri jalan. Dada dan kepala ditepuk, rantai dipukulkan ke punggung, sesekali terdengar tangis susul-menyusul di tengah dentuman suara band dan lantunan doa berirama. Di antara hari-hari besar religius di Iran, mayoritas memang berupa peringatan kematian dan diperingati secara kolosal. Yang terpenting adalah hari Ashora (peringatan kesyahidan Imam Hussain) dan Arbain (peringatan 40 hari setelah kesyahidan Imam Hussain). Dalam gambar ini adalah ritual peringatan wafatnya Rasulullah dan kesyahidan [...]

September 10, 2013 // 5 Comments

Mashhad – The Empty Border

The dusty border Two years ago, when I came to Iran for the first time through the Islam Qala border, I was astonished by the scene of hundreds of wild Afghan men fighting to pass the border line, to quit their homeland and reach hope in rich Iran. But now, it’s not anymore the scene. The Afghan-Iranian border in Islam Qala is quite empty. Iran has tightened up the visa approval for Afghans. Land crossing is no more permitted for ordinary Afghans. The Iranian visa from Kabul is mostly stamped “For Air Travel Only”, putting them to obtain roundtrip ticket only with Iranian airlines. In some cases, visa applicants need to spend at least 1000 dollars just to get the entry visa. Indeed, one’s passport determines his or her fate. I arrived in Afghan immigration hall after 100 meter walk. People are sitting idly to wait for the officers come back from their lunch break. There are three officers behind the table. One is examining the passports, one is stamping, and the last one is noting down t he data before distributing the passports. All Afghans have to pay 10.000 Rial or 40 Afghani to the man who stamped the [...]

June 9, 2009 // 1 Comment

Herat – Back to Afghanistan Again

From Mashhad … 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 [...]

September 8, 2006 // 4 Comments

Mashhad – Afghan Visa

From Mashhad … “You have to go to Tehran” – Visa Officer Mashhad might be not the best place to apply for Afghan visa. I had to go back to Afghanistan soon as my Tajik visa was ready already and I had to rush my way to Central Asia, through the difficult Afghan’s central route. The Afghan consulate is located near the Sevvom Isfand Square off the Imam Khomeini Boulevard in Mashhad. At 9 a.m. I arrived in the consulate, which is located in small alley in a neighbourhood. The consulate was very busy, there were many Iranians and Afghans. No other foreigners. Thus the security guards directed me to talk directly to the visa offcier through the window. The visa officer asked where I was from. “Indonesia,” I answered. “You have to go to Tehran!” said him. Full stop. I was surprised. Go to Tehran? Just for an Afghan visa? Tehran is located 1000 km away from Mashhad and I didnt really want the detour. I wonder whether Indonesia was blacklisted by the Afghans as dangerous country, that its citizens had to refer to the embassy instead of applying visa in the consulate. Afghan visa is usually very easy [...]

September 4, 2006 // 0 Comments

Mashhad – Lost Mobile

“Peida misha (It will be found)” – Reza Mahdavi After the 14 hour smooth bus journey from Tehran covering a distance almost 1000 km, I arrived in Mashhad. I was invited to come here by Reza Mahdavi, one of notable artists in the country. Once I arrived in the bus station, I went to the public telephone booths, checked his number from my mobile phone, and called him. SIM card in Iran is incredibly expensive. The common SIM card for mobile cost 550 US$, and just recently prepaid system was introduced, and it still cost almost 100$. That was the reason I don’t use my mobile in Iran. My mobile had been degraded its functionality to be a notebook to save numbers and an alarm clock. After calling him, I put my mobile in my trousers pocket and went around the station. The station was quite modern, as Mashhad is the second city of Iran. Mashhad is also a holy city and it made the city always crowded by visitors. Reza came 20 minutes after I called him. He was in training of teaching biology. He escaped his class immediately to pick me from the bus station, put me in [...]

August 29, 2006 // 2 Comments

Tehran – Indonesian National Day

The border to Iran The Afghan-Iran border is a busy but very strict border, both on Afghan and Iranian side. The border is about 120 km away from Herat, can be reached by bus, Falancoach, or Volvo. I was in rush to go to Iran right after getting the Iranian visa, and I took the luxurious Volvo to go to Islam Qala, the border. The Afghans had to queue very long outside the immigration office. There were hundreds of people crossing the border, but they still had to pass many checks before being able to go to the ‘outside world’. I also queued. The people grumbled about how hot the weather was. Suddenly a soldier grabbed me from the queue, and put me directly to the gate. “Khareji! (foreigner!)” he said to his colleagues. In fact foreigners didnt need to queue together with the Afghan nationals outside the immigration hall. They were queuing for a slip for luggage search. I was not given the slip and was asked to go directly to the passport stamp window. “Get to line! Get to line!” screamed the Afghan border crossers when I went directly to the gate to get my passport stamped. They [...]

August 17, 2006 // 2 Comments