We stayed at a hotel overnight and all our team together with our guides Kamran and Sharif discussed plans for the following day. In the morning we headed for Tehran. We took photos and made videos on our way. Tabriz and other towns we drove through impressed us with their cleanliness and tidy appearance. Neatly dressed people are strolling along the streets smothered in greenery, quaint-looking domestically made cars are driving leisurely along the roads: various Peugeot models, compact Saipa trucks, antique heavy-duty Mack and Mercedes trucks and, of course, Paykan passenger cars – the veritable Iranian people’s car like the Zhiguli in Russia. It appears as if you are thirty years back in time, fuel prices also suggesting so. Oil is cheap in Iran, so petrol costs very little compared to global prices – around $0.36 per liter. Surprisingly, CNG is also popular here as car fuel.
What charmed us most was local residents’ hospitality. Iranians are very friendly and sociable. Tourists are so far a rare sight for them, to say nothing of the wandering folks like us, miraculously crossing continents in several days. Each person we met was very amiable to us and made a point of having a chat with us.
On our way to Qazvin we caught sight of shepherd-boys herding cows in the field and decided to stop. Despite their young age the boys jumped onto donkeys bravely and rode them dashingly around the field as if they were fast horses rather than donkeys. Hats and scarves on the boys’ heads made them look like consummate cowboys. It was all like a western!
The next stop we made was at the stall selling dried fruit, seeds and spices. There are lot of such stalls scattered along the roads. An array of sacks looks very colorful, and you can taste everything. There was a host of stuff there from familiar raisins and dried apricots to exotic fruits I do not know alas! A nice-looking young salesman was very calm and friendly.
We also saw an awesome sunset there: as the sun was going down behind the mountains in the west, darkness was slowly engulfing the surrounding desert country. At the same time dark clouds gathered in the sky in the east to break out with a thunderstorm. It was a striking sight!
At night we dropped into the Polo restaurant in Qazvin to have lunch. Its owner was another example of Iranian hospitality. He had learned about our motor rally and came out together with his colleagues to welcome us and even offered to provide us with free food for our record-setting journey. The restaurant owner said he would be waiting for us at the entrance to the city on our way back! That’s great!
We are due to arrive in Tehran tomorrow. And we can’t wait to see Iran’s capital with our own eyes!
Author: Pyotr Bakanov