"Desert Storm" Kerman Travelogue by travelinxs
Kerman Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 91 photos
It was a slow first day for Juliet and I as we entered the Dar Anjir Desert. The road was reasonably good in most places and traffic almost non-existent, but a head-wind tormented us and the gradient a gradual, unrelenting climb.
The rugged desert was beautiful. Edged towers of rock and hills of undulating striarta with stricking colours of light ochre through to deep reds.
A solitory car pulled up beside Hagar so close it almost hit his panniers. Angry at such dangerous driving I was ready to lash out with my left boot when a hand appeared through the rear passanger window thrusting out a bag - I kid you not - of a whole kilo of pistashio nuts! I took the bag with great thanks before the car roared off.
Its since occured to me, perhaps he was just offering me a nut? Whoops.
After a long day and only 62km we pulled off the road and disappeared among the low desert hills. It was a barren, harsh moonscape. At 1,400m it was cold, but not freezing and after a ritual pasta meal we slept well.
On day two we arrived in Bafq, a typical backwater town that rarely saw a foreigner, illustrated by all the attension we drew.
Unsure of what lay ahead I was determined to load up with everything we needed. I refilled the fuel bottles at the towns service station, though they refused any payment. Again, at the grocery store, I couldnt pay for the bag of fruit. Laden down with extra pasta, twenty bars of chocolate and fifteen liters of water between us we wobbledoff down the road with eight or nine lads on motorbikes in hot persuit.
From here-on we were to encounter these morons in almost every small town and village. Pulling wheelies, cutting us up and trying to bump their bikes into us, they were dangerous, immature little ***** that drove us insane.
Finally, we shrugged them off and a kindly gent in a car led us to where a tiny road disappeared as a thin blue ribbon into the desert.
The traffic virtualy disappeared as we edged deeper into a wide, barren valley. A dozen stray camels strutted elagantly far off. Others lay decomposing beside the road. Otherwise the desert was seemingly empty. Just paw prints across the sands the only sign that we were not completely alone.
As the sun slid toward the horizon we found a dry wadi among the dunes to hide in and pitched camp.
The following day the asphalt disappeared and we rode on the hard piste, following tracks and our compass. Soon the valley narrowed and as stunning low mountains encroachedon either side I thought we were in for the best camping potential of the whole trip.
But then we hit road works! They had begun a new road up the valley and a continuous convoy of trucks and workmen ensured any diversion into the hills would quickly become hot gossip. We cycled on and on, even as the sun set, hoping for an opportunity to sneek into the hills, but it was impossible.
As we reached the outskirts of a village we were forced into a dry mud field, to pitch amonst animal dung beside what appeared to be a sewage pond. Exhausted, I couldnt even face cooking dinner and we ate chocolate bars instead. Just before falling asleep, I remembered to wish Juliet a Happy New Year.
Onward once more, and then back onto asphalt. A desert storm descendedupon us, the road barely visiableunder a sheet of sand that blew like shotgun pellets in the raging winds. At one point it was so strong we couldnt even cycle. Breathing ws difficult and a spray of sand rattledon the lenses of our sunglasses.
Soon, we were weaving through one village after another. What should have made fascinating cycling was ruined by the ***** on motorbikes. They hounded us as never before. One drove head-on toward Juliet at speed, breaking at the last second. As Juliet slammed her breaks on, I crashed into the back of her. I went crazy, swearing and shouting. Someone stole the Devon flag off the back of Hagar. It wasnt worth anything. I only paid 99p for it from the tourist shop in my home village. But it had flown from Hagar every day of the trip. If other couldnt respect my identity, then why should I honour theirs? I took down the Iranian flag and stowed it away for good.
I thought we had lost them as we passed through a wasteland of sand dunes and low trees. We divedin, pushing our bikes for about a kilometer to be well hidden. Then came the whirr of motorbikes. They were hunting us.
Going slightly mad, now itching to test out my Anti Hund spray on some tiny minded delinquent, we returned to the road.
It was dark now. No hard shoulder and a dangerous road. We pushed thebikesformiles on a smashed up hard shoulder until reaching the edge of the desert town of Zarand.
A few locals came over to chat. One, a student, called his English professor who arrived shortly after. We weregiven an escort to the towns only hotel and around a dozen new friends each grabbed a bag or bike and moments later we were installed in a cheap, clean room, feeling completely worn out.
Onward south again, into a new type of desert. This one a very wet desert! It rained the whole day. An ideal opportunity to test out the new Gortex jacket. Climbing to 1,900m, a car pulled over infront of us and an extended family of three generationspilled out to wave us down. Our flasks were filled with hot tea and our pockets with home baked cakes. But their smiles and enthusiastic handshakes where what made us forget it was raining.
Finally the rain eased and we enjoyed a pleasant downhill run into the city of Kerman.
We took a day off in Kerman, which was a bit of a waste of one day in my life. The town was disappointing, our accomodation pretty awful.
We were now on the fringes of the Baluchistan border region. We could have cycled to the next town of Bam, or at least until the policepicked us up, but with visa time and cash running short we would not have had time to stop there and I didnt want to miss it, so we took the bus, risking the health of poor Hagar and Mybike who always suffered some injury or another when thrown onto a vehicle.
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