For the last night in Tehran we were guided by our new friends to a park at the northern border of the Iranian capital. We have already mentioned that these people have a big inclination to camping, campfires and sociability. However, that this park was also so late in the evening still full of people and at each fork small tents stood and was diligently grilled, that we had not counted on again. We made a stop at a small parking lot and our friends assured us that at the latest in one hour silence should return. The tearful farewell and the mutual assurances to visit each other again as soon as possible already took the biggest part of the waiting time for rest. And yes, it became quiet around our seriousness. For the time being. Because after we had laid down comfortably in the upper floor and let the first dream shreds pass the day in review, a deafening noise and an almost inhuman vibration ripped us from our sleep. All the seriousness trembled and roared from something that could be called Persian techno. Anyone who believes that there is no youthful car tuning scene in Iran, because everything here is so strictly religious and state-monitored, is wrong. Right next to us, a small car showed that you can turn a complete car into a sound box of the highest quality. The camping families were really gone, but the exchange was not a very good one. Like Keanu Reaves in Mission Impossible we glided, as elegant as tree snakes, from the bed to the driver’s seats and took to our heels. Okay, almost as elegant at least. As a thank you for this friendly acoustic wake-up we left a tiny little cloud of smoke from Ernst’s exhaust and crumbled into the next quiet stretch of road.
The next days we had to make the way and get to see as much of the country as possible. The great experiences of the last weeks continued also in the northeast of the country. Everywhere we went we were greeted friendly, we were led to great places, which we had to have a look at, we were overwhelmed with food… so we can still appreciate normal Iranian behaviour, which we don’t even come close to describing here. We were simply overwhelmed.
Have you ever heard of Cloud Forrest? There are certainly several areas in the world where you can see the fog rising in the woods below you, but finding such a place right at the edge of a desert steppe is probably something special. Over bumpy gravel roads we made our way up to this small national park, and suddenly the world turned upside down. Where otherwise dense forests line the foot of a mountain and the summit appears bare, here it was exactly the other way around. Dense lichens covered with dew hung down from the trees, colourful flowering shrubs lined up along the paths. Everywhere a smell of fresh herbs like on a Bavarian alp.
A very friendly young Iranian stopped us unexpectedly and explained to us with hands and feet that we should rather not continue our way through this small mountain range. He showed us the reason directly and booted us around the next curves. Yes, he was right, even a real offroader would have had his difficulties with these ‘roads’. So we stayed where we were, used the time we gained for a washing day, enjoyed the view and drank thyme tea with our new acquaintance. And finally we managed to invite an Iranian to join us. Even though he might have felt a little surprised when a plate of steaming stew was put in front of his nose, he didn’t rifle himself. A success all along the line.
We also made one of the most remarkable acquaintances of our whole journey on this mountain, but we were not even aware of the consequences at this time. An old Nissan Petrol, occupied by two young men and two young women, stopped at our improvised campsite. We listened enthusiastically to our story, took a close look at the car, drank a friend’s arrak, stuck our sticker on the Nissan and exchanged telephone numbers. All in all, less than 30 minutes. It seemed like one of the many entertaining encounters, but you could already see that Omid is someone special. In the next report you will find out what makes him so special.