Well, who can refuse an order like that? It certainly beat “hello mister” and was enough to bring Friedel to a screeching halt beside the man on a motorbike, who was frantically waving his arms by the side of the road. Andrew, who didn’t quite hear the opening line and assumed another of those unintelligable conversations in Farsi was taking place, reluctantly stopped a few meters ahead.
“You must come to my house. Come to my home. See my guestbook. Please, please.”
The words flew out of his mouth like water from a swollen river in springtime. We had to spend the night. He’d had tourists from all over the world. We would be the next. There was no choice. We scarcely had time to exchange a few words between us before we were turned around, cycling back the short distance to Sassan’s farm of grape vines, nut and fruit trees.
Once in a warm room, cups of tea in hand, Sassan told us how he won several cycling medals in his youth and was even selected for the Olympic Games in Moscow before the revolution thwarted that plan. Then he proudly showed us his guestbook, filled with stories from tourists who had come before us over the past 15 years. It appeared we were not the first people to be “kidnapped” by Sassan and his family, dragged off to his farm to experience Iranian hospitality. We were in good hands.
Just before we stumbled across Sassan, we’d been making our plans for a night of camping in the desert. We’re about halfway between Shiraz and Yazd and we’d just sailed down a large mountain. Locals say the peak is at 2,500 meters; if true this would be our highest yet. We were truly flying along before we were waved down and pulled away to the farm.
Aside from the screaming descent, it had been a rather boring day at the office, so much so that Friedel started trying to perform stunt tricks. Perhaps not the best idea for someone who is normally clumsy and even less so on a loaded and relatively unstable touring bicycle! Good that Sassan met us then before Friedel attempted something really silly in her quest to liven up our day.
After a warm and friendly evening at Sassan’s farm, we agreed to spend the next day and night with him and his family at his home in Abadeh, some 25km up the road. We’ll then return to the farm to continue on our journey to Yazd, with a few more Iranian friends to add to our quickly growing tally.