Desert trip from Kerman to Yadz
May 15, 2015
Well a late start from the hotel in Kerman had me flustered…seems my computer decided it needed an update(of 25 items) as I was shutting it down to leave! And it was taking forever…But C’est la vie…off in the van I went…hoping the computer would not disintegrate from the closing of the top(but not turning it off)…As I was leaving the hotel, the Manger and part owner ran out and gave me a lovely box of special dates that come specially from Kerman. He and I enjoyed several lovely conversations and for some reason he thought I deserved such a lovely gift. Again, the one thing that is so much fun and enjoyable are the people.
We started at the Sanati Museum of Modern Art which was an add on that Pam wanted to do…I felt a little overwhelmed by our go go go schedule yesterday so I decided rather than going in, I would sit in the garden and read..It was such a nice break…The tough thing about a tour is the constant having to be on…and we are just 3 tourists…AND each of us are usually solo travelers! So each of us has expressed needs for alone time…but the nice thing is we have been quite accommodating to each other…so far (-:
After the Museum, we set off for Fatemeh and I to search for a Backgammon game..seems it is both our favorite game…BUT I haven’t played since childhood…sooooo
After that we headed off to Rayen, a small village in the desert…At the start of the village is this wall full of artistic drawings of a Movie Camera and each panel following are what looks like pieces of film depicting a scene from the area…It’s quite good street art…There is plenty of graffiti and street art all over Iran.
Rayen is a small town overlooking an ancient adobe Citadel. It is not known exactly when it was built but the guesstimate is between 1000-1400 ears ago…It is being partially restored…The Irony of life is that when it was built as a fortified city to protect the people from the invading Arabs, they created 3 distinct areas, the part for the “
regular people and army…another part for the wealthy and the final and most protected for the Royal Family…The irony is that they only seem to be restoring the part that held the “regular” people and the Royal Family and they are leaving the wealthy part as is! So I guess in the end, the locals live on . (-:
Afterwards, we headed off to the strangest restaurant…almost theme park like…they had statues of Dolphins and Crocodiles and turtles etc…all very colorful smack in the middle of this little desert area….The food was what you would expect..and oh my gosh I wish they would serve less…I feel terrible leaving so much on my plate…Every place piles on the rice…and I mean piles…and the chicken or beef kabob is buried,,,I have been ordering cokes for lunch…mainly because I love their knockoffs and they are tiny…smaller then are little ones…all with different names but it’s coke!
One fun thing I have forgotten to mention is the Onion at lunch. They serve all lunches with about a small 1/4 of an onion. We are told to eat if for our digestion and to keep away pests in the stomach…Yikes what pests are lurching in my stomach? I usually don’t like to eat just a raw onion but these are particularly tasty.
Kerman and this area of Rayen are known for their Yogurt…another food I am not too particularly keen on…BUT I do as the locals…and this yogurt is fabulous…a completely different taste…very mild and cool…I asked Fatemeh what makes it so unique to this area and she said it comes from sheep’s milk..and only in the Spring when the Sheep are able to graze and are not feeding their babies…
As we were driving through the mountains we noticed every once in awhile there would be writing along side the mountain…like a fancy graffiti…we assumed it was something official but Fatemeh told us the one we asked her about was only an advertisement for a Furniture store…I guess once it rains, it’s gone…but then by the looks of things, rain is a rarity here.
I finally saw some Dogs….Yay!
As we drove over the mountain pass and went through a very long tunnel, we got hit with the most amazingly hot air…OMG it felt like a super power hair dryer on high heat was pounding us…We had to use the windows because the van would over heat if we tried to use the AC…so the decision was whether we left the windows open for air, even though it was stifling or whether we should just close it all up and hope for the best…we decided to embrace the heat…This is REAL heat…And here I was covered from head to toe…At that moment I missed my shorts and tee shirts. What am I saying I missed my bathing suit, a pool and a cold one!
Looking out the windows the Palm Trees seems to be struggling…the driver said it was 65 degrees Celsius! On the upside, it was a dry heat. Remembering the “glass half full” thing…Speaking of glass…I downed a ton of water and still was thirsty!…But at least I am drinking water, a usual failing of mine.
Vahid, our driver for this portion of the trip, found the most amazing area in the desert to set up our mini picnic…he surprised us with fresh Watermelon, a huge favorite here…and let me tell you a watermelon never tasted so delicious then at that moment, watching the sun set over the Central Iranian desert…Breathtaking beauty coupled with the sweet quench of watermelon. This particular desert had a little Badlands…tiny feel of the Grand Canyon and then , of course, it’s own unique ambiance.
Once the sun completed the set, the air cooled slightly…went from 110 degrees F to 90 F! I have never appreciated a dry 90 degrees more. (-;
We drove to our homestay…As we drove in to the courtyard, I could feel Pam, the other American woman, tensing up…this was her biggest fear…no private room…bathroom outside and a few other inconveniences…I will admit it was far more rustic and rough then had been described to us but hey “when in Rome”…or Iran…The family was just lovely…The husband was a Farmer but also held down 2 other jobs and rented his home as an ecolodge…The home was quite traditional for the desert with the Adobe style and 2 Main rooms, a small kitchen and a room to shower in…then they had 2 additional rooms outside…all rooms connected with a curtain for privacy…They had 1 AC unit that was struggling in the main house and one in the area with the additional 2 rooms…Fatemeh and I shared the area with the AC in the main house and Gary took the other room but we left the curtain open so he could feel what little air conditioning the old unit could muster….Pam had the run of the other 2 rooms for privacy. They had bed mats and 1 sheet and a blanket…I laughed to myself when they put the blanket on the bed mat…as if I would ever need it…it felt like 90 degrees in the AC…but to my amazement I did get chilly late into the night.
We arrived around 8:30pm and Fatemeh asked what time we wanted dinner…haha…then before we could answer she said “we should eat early so the family could settle in at their inlaws down the road afterward. Early?! These guys are like the Spanish…love the night. I was itching for bed…or a mat on the floor…(-:
They made a nice Rice(and tons of it) and fried chicken(not fried like we do…more baked)…a wonderful chopped tomato and cucumber salad and these flat potatoes that are cooked under the chicken and are a very flat and tasty dish.
After dinner, I gave the woman a piece of local art I brought from home and I gave their little boy a coloring book with stickers…he was quite shy. I found him hiding on the floor of the kitchen…so I brought the book to him and sat next to him and together we looked through the book trying to match the pictures on the stickers with the those in the book…He seemed to enjoy that…and I got many smiles which seemed impossible when we came in…When I got up, I did something to my knee cap…I made the mistake of kneeling on their tile floor…I forget that I am not a kid with the more gelatin knee caps and now I know why there are so many blankets and carpets on the floors…because underneath those beautiful carpets are some really hard floors!
Fatemeh and I stayed up a bit and chatted before we drifted off to sleep…As usual, my middle of the night bathroom runs yielded some more adventure…I was stumbling outside to put my shoes on…oh yes all shoes come off at the door of houses, and find the bathroom…I see this huge shadow cross me and it startled me wide awake…but no worries, it was only our driver who was sleeping on top of the van! We had invited him in but he said we were like his sisters and brother and he would not feel comfortable.
Vahid is so lovely…he always has the biggest smile and is full of surprises for us, whether it’s bits of chocolate or the watermelon or coffee for Pam & Gary or tea for me…One day I offered him some fresh ginger root I brought from home in case I had an upset stomach(didn’t know the onion trick)…I offered it to him and he readily accepted and then I heard him gag and say something in Farsi…Fatemeh said he was saying how hot it was..as in spicy hot…it has since become a joke on the trip…So much so I had to offer the husband and wife some just so they could see…to my delight and Vahid’s surprise the husband liked it.
The wife showed me around their lovely garden and Date palms after they made us breakfast the next day…I know I am going to show true ignorance here BUT I was surprised when I saw dates on the palms! They looked like palms we have in Florida…When the little green baby dates are ready to start to harvest, they put a light bag over them to ripen them…like some do with banana plants.
On the other side of their wall was this tall clay tower…beautifully designed…Gary and I were trying to figure out what it was…the woman told us that it is called a Pigeon Tower…It captures pigeon poop and then the farmers use it for fertilizer….seems NYC could yield some extra cash by marketing this.
Well the homestay ended with us piling into Vahid’s green van that has served us well so far for our long journey to Yadz….again across the desert.
After several hours of driving, we stopped at this Road Side Mosque and Store(Like our turnpike stops) to use the WC and Fatemeh bought us all noodle and bean soup…keep in mind it feels like 100 degrees F…but the soup was delicious…She bought it from a woman selling it…normally I would be nervous about eating something from a roadside vendor but I trust Fatemeh doesn’t want a bunch of sick tourists so I dove in…I think I was more concerned about the tons of flies…But hey…it is what it is…enjoy the ride…and there was no onion to protect me! (-:
Not to offend my friends from Texas but after awhile it began to feel like we were driving across Texas…we hit this patch of flat dry nothing that seems to go on forever…at first you are so enamored to see the new topography…then you get a little familiar with it…and then it’s like any other drive across country and ask, ”When do we get there?” Haha….But suddenly you remember where you are and remind yourself that you are driving across IRAN!… then it is special again…
A little side note about Iran that I learned today…they have a completely different calendar then we do…their seasons are the same but their beginning of the year are different…Iran’s New Year is March 23rd.
Like a commercial break, we ended up being pulled over at one of the check points…first one soldier then another…lots of chatter…seemed like the soldier recognized Fatemeh…they talked to the driver then Fatemeh…at length …The tone felt more flirtatious…finally they closed the door…and then as if he forgot something reopened and asked about our passports…I had mine out before he finished his sentence…After some more chatter we went on our way….Fatemeh says that he likes her…I said it seemed obvious…but it does unnerve the tourists nonetheless to have a few Soldiers stop you and look around, especially since I was typing this little blog at the time (-:
Here is another fun little tidbit- Many of the beautiful doors and those to homes etc have different door knockers on each side…There is a round one on one side of the double door and a long one on the other…If a woman is knocking, she would use the round door knocker and the man the long…yeah yeah…I know I know but that is how it is set up…anyway…this gives the homeowners an indication of whether it is a man or woman at the door…That way if a woman is home and hanging out in shorts and a man knocks, she knows to scurry and put the appropriate clothing on and if it’s a woman calling then open away!
I will sign off with that little factoid and write more about Yazd, which is a big Zoroastrian area here(Fire Temple and all)…once we have seen them…I am only posting this because it seems the internet actually works here…and you never know…