NOMADS & BREAKING DOWN IN THE DESERT! IRAN, 1976

FRIDAY 12TH NOVEMBER, 1976

“I made the porridge!
Lovely orange sunrise.
Should have driven down middle of salt lake but rain had made it impossible.  So took the terrible track round the lake – riddled with channels (again!).  Had to get out about 7 times while bus negotiated them.  Rain had washed away bits of the road, so had to drive around them.
washed away road
At early bump there was a huge crunch, all piled out to find half-shaft broken.  Only one spare!
Had a walk in circle round bus with Diana and had a good chat.  Cup of coffee until bus ready. “
[I also filled in the time writing a letter home to say we had broken down in the desert.  I assume driver Geoff and helper Fred were sweating buckets to mend things while the rest of us strolled around and drank coffee, but it didn’t seem to warrant a mention in the diary!]
“Fascinating route through little mud villages; houses half buried in the ground with doors the size of windows.  Some houses shaped like ‘black houses’ [Hebridean thatched cottages]; others were square with dome-shaped roofs.  Several houses had bedouin-type tents of dark skin outside.
Took one shot of carpet weaver in such a tent with lots of friendly locals quite willing to be photographed.”                                              [These were probably Qashqa’i nomads, pastoral tribes from Central Iran who move with their herds of goats and sheep over long distances and are famous for weaving rugs known as gabbeh.  The women wear colourful dresses and do not cover their faces]
“In one place the road had eroded so had to reinforce sides with stones (over a deep channel) and put planks across.  It was touch and go – millimetres to spare!  After several starts the bus made it over.
Incredibly bumpy – had to make sandwiches on the move – nearly cracked ribs against table!
Picked up 2 silent Iranians and their carpet bags and gave them a lift to Sirjan.  Road improved just outside town.  Sunset over mountain ranges – layers of salt over ground and water in distance.  Got to Sirjan after dark – quite a metropolis after the desert!  Queued up for bread at the baker’s (2 dishy bakers), but such a crowd of people, had to wait ages, trying to attract attention and thrust money at them.  (Found out had to pay first before getting bread).  Slapped dough into oven then threw them onto mat on floor.
Just leaving finally with bread when a taxi and car smashed into each other right in front of us.  All rushed onto bus before crowd came – no one hurt but looked like fight was about to break out.
Camped out of town – freezing wind – of course we were on cooking – incredibly and painfully cold.  Tried  making custard again!  This time it was like a thick lumpy jelly!  The comments were suitably sarcastic.  Fran was going to have seconds until she got a huge globule in her mouth!  Adrian liked it!
Diana moved in tonight (numbers down to two till then!)”
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