102km Azmighan to Yaqubiyeh

It’s hard to know what to say about this day. Shocking. Tragic. Sobering. The kind of day that makes you realise just how precious life is. We’d only been on the road for five minutes, maybe less, when we heard a car coming at high speed from behind us, then the squealing of tires as it flew past, crossing the other lane and tumbling into the desert. It was like watching a movie scene in slow motion. Unbelievable in its horror.

Three people died before our eyes. Three children were left without parents.

We don’t need to describe the scene for you to know it wasn’t pretty. We did what we could to help but in the end there was little we could do once Bijan had helped to call the emergency services. It didn’t seem right to stand and stare at the carnage so we walked slowly for a few meters and then carried on, our moods very much saddened.

We’ll never know what caused the crash. The road was completely straight and empty at the time – a miracle in itself considering the amount of traffic on the move for Iranian New Year. It could so easily have been so much worse. The reasons are largely irrelevant now that a family lies in ruins. Instead, we found ourselves considering what lesson this terrible event had to teach us and feeling very thankful that we weren’t involved. We might not be writing this if the car had hit another vehicle or swerved in the opposite direction, if we’d crossed the road to take a picture.

By the end of the day, we felt even more pleasure than usual in the simple things in life. We stopped to make our camp by an irrigation channel, dipping our toes in the cool water and being happy only because we’d lived to see another day. You just never know what tomorrow will bring.


  1. James Hustler
    26th March 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    As you said earlier “Inshallah” covers everything.

    Godspeed, good cycling and happy paddling.

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