Well, I did mention that our Iranian experience just keeps on getting better by the day.
However, as I am so far behind in my journal, I will need to go back a day or two as I have so many wonderful memories of our night with the Nomad couple in the desert.
After a good night’s sleep, Cameron and I got up, not that early, but a whole lot earlier than everyone else after a very late and rowdy night before, and enjoyed an interesting walk around the little village. We met an elderly farmer on a donkey, dogs, cats and other animals on route, fields of Poppies and other wild flowers, great views of the snow clad mountains and many mountain streams. Very pretty.
We enjoyed a usual Persian breakfast in the tent outside and learned all about farming in the area from our hosts. Mehdi, our Nomadic host, took us for a long hike in a pretty valley which with mountains in the background, we crossed little mountain streams and learned all about the various edible seeds and leaves.
On the way back we met a few members of the local community, Mehdi’s English students and learned all about how their houses are built with the mud bricks placed strategically to withstand earthquakes and so much more.
Lunch was again sitting on the Persian mats and cushions out in the open under the tent. Roast chook stuffed with plums, dates etc, rice of course, pickles, salad and loads of bread.
After the obligatory tea party, we sadly bid farewell to our new best friends, wished them well, thanked them for not kidnapping or murdering us and took off for a new village, Eghlid.
Things were probably going well on our long road trip, we had the music playing, a mixture of Persian, German, Australian, NZ and Swiss songs. We stopped for ice creams and coffee after a couple of hours before we re-entered some serious barren desert territory, many interesting Nomad camps along the way, mountains, farms etc. until our driver and Sahar decided to take a short cut through some really serious desert country along tracks in the bus.
How the 10 seater bus coped, I don’t know as we bumped along goat tracks, crossed flooded tracks into some major foreigner kidnapping territory. There was absolutely nothing and nobody around, eventually we met a truck and the driver asked for directions as I think the iPhone map had given up on us by the, plus Sahara admitted she does not know her right from her left. It was difficult to assess how seriously lost we were with our leaders discussing the situation, as it was getting dark, in Farsi.
Eventually we came out the other side, back onto the main road only to be waved down by a police road block, we scrambled to retrieve scarves and stow away laptops just in case, however, the police weren’t too interested in a bunch of weird looking foreigners so on we drove.
By this time the driver needed a break so we stopped at the side of the road and out came the tea and biscuits. Sahara gave us an impromptu Persian dance lesson, so there we were at the side of the road all dancing (although dancing is forbidden in Iran - but as mentioned before, if an Iranian can break a law they will) up and down the grass verge. She was telling us to shake our boobs, all still covered from top to toe in scarves etc. such fun.
We finally arrived at our destination at about 8.30 pm, a sleepy little town in the desert, just a stopover really, tired, hungry and extremely dirty.
After a quick shower, we had rice (am now eating it twice a day) and kebabs for dinner in the hotel and earlish to bed.
This morning we had a look around Eghlid, visited the obligatory shrine and Towers of Silence where the Zoroastrians used to lay out their dead to be picked clean by scavenger birds, to prevent the body from being contaminated by evil spirits.
Another long drive today through even more barren desert, totally flat, not a bush in sight, really boring but we had the music going and perfected our upper body Persian dance moves with Sahara leading us.
We stopped at the desert valley town of Abarque which is tucked under the Zagros Mountains for tea and biscuits and to see the ancient ice house (a passive refrigerator) as well as a 4000 year old Cypress tree (the national tree of Iran).
Finally, we arrived in Yazd, an ancient desert city which used to be the stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period, Marco Polo also visited this lovely old city on his way to China) in time for a late lunch.
Sahara took us to our best restaurant so far, the food was unbelievably good, Miles out of town and a local very expensive Persian fine dining which cost us $6 each, including drinks, soup, half a dozen different dishes and finally the obligatory tea.
We are staying in a magnificent huge old traditional mansion with courtyards (think fountains, sitting on Persian carpets where I am sitting blogging right now) right in the centre of the old city. The city is beautiful, so much atmosphere especially when it got dark as it is yet another public holiday commemorating the death of another Ali Mohammed somebody or other, so all the mosques are busy and the place is just buzzing with local activity.
More tomorrow, watch this space ......