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Baggy Trousers

The west of Iran is the land of the Kurdish people who wear baggy trousers with a low crotch around the knees of which any hoxtonite would be proud. The Kurdish people in Iran have their own culture and language and even a unique landscape which we wanted to explore. We started out in pretty Paveh with its ferris wheel and hillside setting. The restaurants were all closed early for Ramadan apart from one who finally agreed to serve us something basic. We started out the only ones in the restaurant which suited us fine because after a long days travel we were extremely tired and were happy for a quick snack before an early night.... however... by the end of the meal we ended up surrounded by kitchen staff, posing for photos, our payment was refused and the manager insisted he drove us home via the local sites. Even by Iranian standards the Kurds are renowned for their friendliness. (except the hotel owners in Sanandaj for some reason most of whom seemed to want to know where we had been, where we intended to go and at what time. We decided not to stay with them - in fact the assistant of one hotel even advised we go elsewhere cos he hated his boss! :))

The next morning we had a comedy hour-long barter in the taxi office, with diagrams and rowdy passerby involvement as well as phone calls to friend of friends who also wanted to add their own suggestions. Noone seems to understand why tourist might want to go a scenic route!

Kurdistan is arrid and mountainous and as we passed near the Iraqi border the next day you can understand clearly why fighting in this region must be extremely difficult. We saw several burned patches of ground and during a taxi swap in a local town we spoke to a man who had lived in Sheffiend who told us that this was because the government were trying to flush out fighters in the area. I wanted to talk to him more about it but we had to dash off with our new driver to arrive in vibrant Sanandaj.

Sanandaj was heaving with people in the streets for the breaking of the Ramadan fast and people were pulling our bags and shouting out trying to talk to us or be the person to help us which was quite unnerving at the time. After we secured a hotel the streets were quieter but we were immediately met by a young man wanting to join us and practice his english. He left us at the restaurant only to track us down at our table later after he'd been home to eat! We spent a lovely evening with him though at the local tea/shisha place and he even left us a CD of our new favourite Iranian musician, Shayarian, at our hotel while we were out the next day.

In hindsight we should have left more time to visit the stunning Palangan that day: we had a 5 hour round trip to visit a village which climbed two steep sides of a green valley with a blue green river running through it and orchards beyond. We only had half an hour in the village before we had to head back to catch the bus to Tehran. We had to prise ourselves away, cursing our bad planning and hoping that the scenery north of Tehran would be worth leaving this idylic picnic setting.

PS. Dave would like to confess that he "doesnt really do the points thing" so I think I'm going to have to give up on this idea sadly. Besides I am finding that there are not as many opportunities for points as you'd think. Sorry Tim :(

Posted by rachndave 01:58 Archived in Iran Tagged mountains driving

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That's ok, he never really wanted to play along with it, and we we're just trying to think of a reason for you to write a blog, but as we predicted, you've found plenty to talk about. Keep it coming!

by Tim

Minus 50 Adventure Points for Dave.

by Rob Blakemore

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