(Dean) It’s bloody hot here at the moment, over 40 deg every day, which means that walking around cities (where everything is closed due to Ramadan!), looking at monuments or wanding in the desert is not really fun during the day. So we’ve got a bit of a routine going on, we do something in the morning then sit around in the afternoon until 4pm, at which time we head out to see something else.
From Kerman the two main attractions were the Kalouts in the desest, 150km NE of the city, and an old fort, about 100km south of the city. So we headed off to see the Kalouts at 5pm, reasoning that it would take an hour to get there, which would be enough time to see them before sunset, and then put up our tent in the desert and hope to god that it cooled off enough to sleep overnight.
The ride out there had me remembering Death Vally in the US, another occassion when I assured Sally it would cool down overnight… it didnt. We didnt sleep. It sucked. So here we were riding through another desert in 45 deg heat, with me once again saying “dont worry babe, it’s a desert, they get really cold at night time…”
Of course Sal no longer believes a word I say regarding deserts, but it was nice of her to play along anyway.
The Kalouts are these really unique rock formations in an otherwise sandy desert, that look like tall buildings poking out of the sea of sand. Sounds boring doesnt it? Actually it was really cool. We arrived half hour before sunset, rode around the dunes (motorbike playground) for a bit before deciding on a campsite, and then sat on one of the taller Kalouts and watched the sun set. Really pretty.
There’s no wood to burn in sandy desert, and our camp stove is out of fuel, so we ate cold “shit-in-a-can” for dinner and lay and watched the amazing starry sky for a couple of hours before going to sleep.
By the way, shit-in-a-can is canned corn kernels, canned chickpeas, canned tuna, fresh tomatos, parsley, lime juice, chilli and olive oil all mixed together – try it, it rocks.
Sleep is a generous word to use when we’re in the tent and it’s hot, but we did close our eyes for a bit. Lucky for me, it did cool down through the night, and we had an almost pleasant breeze blowing through the tent. In the morning we got up to watch the sun rise, (something we may never have done before), ate left over shit-in-a-can, and headed back to Kerman.
This little 150km trip was interrupeted by the local petrol station not working because of a power outage, so what should have taken an hour and a half took 4 frustrating hours, involving a group of Iranian taxi drivers syphoning fuel out of someones car to get us to the next town, by which time the power was back so we filled up at the pump on the way out of town anyway…
Anyhow, we bundled back into the hotel in Kerman, collapsed on the beds and slept until 3pm! Then another repeat of this to go and see a fort, which unfortunately was nothing too special.
(Sally) We’ve spent the last few days here in Shiraz. Once upon a time the centre of red wine production for the Middle East with 300 vineyards, until the Islamic Revolution in 1979 which made alcohol illegal overnight. That made all those vineyards redundant and now they just produce dried table fruit. Imagine that!
We spent a long day riding through the desert to get here. It was hot… And boring.. There really isn’t much to see. Thankfully there are highways connecting every city here so we can make miles pretty easily.
Shiraz is a bit more happening than anywhere else we’ve been so far in Iran. There are some coffee shops that remind us of Melbourne (but they aren’t allowed to open before 8pm due to Ramadan) and some women that rebel against the black cloak get up and wear brightly coloured headscarfes instead. We’ve visited some mosques and markets which have been nice – very Persian, and this evening for our 5pm excursion, we visited Persepolis, some Ancient Persian ruins, 2500 years old, which were very impressive.
The people here are mostly very friendly, generous and welcoming… Sometimes we get strange looks but that’s probably due to my efforts of wearing a headscarf as unconventionally as possible 😁. The food is getting more interesting with very different flavours to what we are used to which is great!
Tomorrow we are heading to a town called Yadz which is in the middle of the desert and is 44 degrees…