Masouleh, in the Northwest of Iran is a hillside town (so extremely hillside that the paths are in fact the roofs of the house one level down), which is known as an Iranian family holiday retreat. Of course, in a country as hot as here holiday retreat means that it’s cooler than normal, but given what I remember of my family holidays arriving in torrential rain feels quite natural to me. Aside from the mud which I could do without with my limited clothing, I’m making the most of the lovely cold weather while it lasts.
We’re all piled into a couple of apartments here, which is a bit crowded with 9 girls sleeping in the living room, but since we’re no longer on the truck we’re certainly not complaining! We’ve experienced our first bit of proper Iranian food – a very tasty garlicky lamb stew with chickpeas called dizi (also, even though I haven’t learnt any farsi at all, I am picking up how to read the prices on the menus, weirdly even though farsi is written right to left, the numbers are still written left to right.) After whiling away our first free day wandering the shops, watching TV and playing cards, we decided to go for our weekly hike (it’s been a while) up to the local waterfalls – this was my first hike in a headscarf and long tunic, and I think I can say with all confidence that it will be my last. We got a bit lost after the second waterfall and nearly took the wrong path, but thankfully there was a group of Iranian men with rifles in the woods with us to teach us the value of ignoring all our instincts when faced with guntoting strangers. (In all seriousness, they and everyone else I’ve met so far were very nice, if worryingly obsessed with James Blunt. Never did find out why they needed a rifle though…)
Yay, the Iranian marksman showed us the way home instead of using us for hunting practice!