Nesfe Jahan, pt 62

27 November 2010

A quick snapshot from the road. Just arrived back to Esfehan, after road-tripping in another desert with the friend that picked me up in the first desert, and one of his allies. But this is now, and many things have happened before that have not found a home yet in this blog. They have been edited and digitalized, but they are currently residing in Tehran, and I have to go back there anyway to pick up my shiny new visa for the coming weeks. I’m staying in Iran, that much is for sure.

Yes, I’m going back to Tehran, for the third time. A city I hate with a passion. But a city I now love to hate. I keep coming back there, because the majority of my good friends live there. And it’s funny to realize that I didn’t manage to make any new, lasting friendships in Turkey, while here I have a couple after 3 weeks.

But anyway, back to the narrative.

I made it to Esfehan after Tehran. And it was beautiful, but this story will come another time. But I got invited to go to Noshahr, in Mazanderan province by the Caspian. And I doubted for a while to go. I had travelled pretty much in a straight line until then, and developed a loathing for kilometers. Too many uncomfortable, sleepless nights on busses. But I bit the bullet anyway, spending a full day getting there. And it was just what the doctor ordered. I spend 5 days being a son and a brother. Eating, sleeping and drinking tea. Pretty much in that order. Playing cards with my siblings for 5 hours straight. And, it was glorious. So great for once not to worry about what to do for a day. My Iranian mother doting over me. Mazanderan is also nice, heavily forested, strong eating culture. And it was great to spend so much time with people, developing an interesting relationship that will last past this travel. Something I was missing.

And after that, almost any which way you go passes through Tehran anyway, so I decided to simply follow the flow, and stay there to extend my visa, and hook up with some friends. I meet up with my desert friend again, M, and plan a road trip for the next weekend. I meet a lot of new people through S, the girl who invited me to her family. And it’s very nice to meet them, they’re the liberal scene in Tehran. People that would feel like a fish in the water in Berlin. Where I don’t have to watch what I’m saying, and can just feel at ease. I still hate the city, but it has becoming almost a way of life. Like Erzurum. It’s amazing what you can get used to. I barely do any sight seeing, and time flies. Three days later, Tehran has such a bad pollution forecast that the whole city is forced to close down. Time to leave.

So me and M bolt to Esfehan, to meet a friend of his, and we make it off to the desert. Salt lakes again. Sand dunes. And, of course, jeeps with blasting music and groups of people dancing. Just like American minors drive into the desert for drinking, people here go into the desert to do what they feel like. And I’m guessing it’s a lot of them, mostly because we’re not looking for them, and we stumble upon them in the middle of a vast and empty desert. Something must be tipping the odds.

A beautiful oasis, with rich gardens and abundant water in the middle of hundreds of kilometers of desolation. Fresh pomegranate and dates.┬áDriving hundreds of kilometers. Empty desert roads at night, music blasting. One road shines silver as a it’s snaking it’s way south, reflecting the light of the setting sun.

Instead of getting worked up on all this time moving around, I’ve found that I’ve embraced it. I’m having a much better time now than in the beginning, because I have learned to go with the flow. Which can be surprising, considering how different this country can be. But there are enough small wake up calls to remind me that this place is still very different from every other country that I’ve visited before.

Anyway, I’m back to Esfehan/Tehran now. I’ll have my new visa in a couple of days, and I’ll head home in time for Christmas. Until then, I’ll have time for another jaunt Southwards. But it’ll probably be short. I want to spend some more time in Tehran before I go, and advance the friendships I’ve made here. Because after that, I don’t know how long it will be before I see any of these great people again.