We’ve spent the last few days being given a taste of southern Iran by the always-cheerful Ali and his lovely family. On Friday we went for a picnic by a local shrine, feasting on delicious chicken kebabs, salads and rice. Then we worked off a few calories with a stroll in the nearby hills and in the evening we visited with their large extended family. Everyone was so kind to us and when it came time to say goodbye this morning we felt both sad to go and happy we’d made new friends. Iran is full of hospitable and generous people but Ali and his family must be in the running to make the top of the list. Nothing was too much for them and we left feeling very spoiled. If we didn’t have to return to Shiraz in a few days to renew our visa we might have convinced Ali to give us some work around the house in exchange for a few more days in Borazjan. It’s a pleasant town, well off the tourist trail but always full of life and surrounded by date palms, one of the area’s main exports.
It was midday by the time we finally set off, our tummies full with an early lunch of rice and fish cooked by Ali’s wife Kobra. The road was busy and we weren’t crazy about the trucks thundering by but in this area there aren’t many alternatives so there was nothing to do but get on with it. A flat stretch was quickly followed by a big climb and by the time we reached Konar Takhteh at the peak we were worn out. A brief stop in the town gave several young men the chance to surround us, all of them yelling “hello mister” at the top of their lungs but little else that would let us start a conversation. We were less than a foot from the dozen or so people around our bikes but the shouts of “hello mister” continued for a few minutes as we tried in vain to write a shopping list. We left the town wondering if all the traffic passing by has left the town’s residents nearly deaf?
Just as we were filling our water bottles, plenty of water started to fall from the sky. We made a quick dash outside the town and set up our tent, crawling in for the chilliest night we’ve seen in quite a while.