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Published: September 28th 2005
A long day on the road. We pack up and depart from Shiraz at eight in the morning heading east towards Kerman along the highway to Bandar Abbas. We pass through a number of towns and villages, always accompanied by the rain. The weather is again gloomy and chilly. Fortunately we have plenty of tea in the car to keep ourselves warm. The highway is passing through a wasteland of sand and rocks, again lined by beautiful mountains and rock formations enshrouded in mist. Occasionally the road will climb ridges and overlook salty lakes. Traffic is light. Farzaneh is explaining about the old underground constructions known as qanats, evidence of which can be spotted in the form of holes near the road. They are basically underground tunnels sloping gently for several kilometers, intended to lead water from the mountains. A good schematic can be found here
The first major town we pass through is Estahban where we stop at a petrol station. As the owner ask where we are from and learn that we are Swedes he gets very excited and shouts "Tomas Brolin!" and smiles widely. Once again a fine example of soccer diplomacy at work. Shortly thereafter we
break in Neyriz, we meet two mullahs outside the old mosque plus a lot of curious children who ask where we come from. This time we get enthusiastic calls for "Kenneth Andersson!" As we reach the border between Fars and Kerman provinces we take a break on a plain ducking from the rain under some trees for a chilly picnic lunch. We are being observed by a hungry mutt and, as we later discover, by two scruffy looking men standing half concealed a short distance away. Farzaneh recons they are either addicts or possibly drug smugglers on the lookout.
Travelling in Iran may be something of a culture shock, but it is nowhere as big as the divide between me and the Bergmans, we seem to come from very different worlds. I am asked if I read classic Swedish poetry like Jonas Love Almqvist, or Karlfeldt and the new romantics. Grönköpings veckoblad? And so on. I guess I'd sooner be trying to decipher the Quran.
We reach Kerman at seven in the evening and head directly to the hotel. The weather hasn't improved at all and we stay to have dinner at the hotel restaurant. After dinner I
am chatting a bit with Mr. Hoseyn, who wonders (yes, you've guessed it) why on Earth I have travelled to Iran. At my age, he explains, one should be out and about causing trouble. Although he doesn't speak more than two or three words in English Farzaneh is happy to recite his stories about being a young teenage troublemaker starting fights in bars and the like. Back at the room I turn on the TV and stumble on a historic speec of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, recorded in that very same auditorium we visited back in Tehran. Spooky...
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