Getting off the air-conditioned coach, such was the blowtorch heat that my desert trek plan was well and truly binned for reasons mathematical, or perhaps thermodynamic. If you have to drink ten litres of water a day and can only carry twenty litres (weighing twenty kilos) then a range of two days is kind of limiting. The hard facts devalue the noble word expedition into the mundane day trip.
Look beyond Mount Brent. What do you see? Chak Chak - and its water - lies beyond it. These mountains are, within a sensible level of risk, an insurmountible obstacle.
The biker looked like a dark and dangerous Mujaheddin, but as so often in
Persepolis or Takht e Jamshed
The Greek-Persian war was won decisively by the Greeks. Alexander conquered the Persian Empire. When he took Persepolis his troops burnt the place down, either accidentally or deliberately. The Iranians disagree that it is called Persepolis, a name Greek in origin. It's rather like Hitler had renamed Paris Frankstadt. It was called Parsa in the day (we're talking about 300 years before Caesar) and under the Muslims it is called Takht e Jamshed.
When I had arrived the previous evening, night was falling. I decided to kip out in a stand of trees. After offloading all my clutter, a couple of dodgy kids riding a horse came up to me and cadged a fag. They started telling me a better place to camp, at the corner of a maize field which was surrounded on three sides by plouged earth. Sure, I thought. As if I’m going to give away my location to a scouting party for a band of brigands. They proceeded to pillage the maize field, presumably for horse feed. As soon as they cleared off, I headed in the opposite direction for some privacy. But from time to time I would see a white trail appear in the semi-darkness, and realise that I was being quietly stalked by these kids on their horse, whose hooves were quietly kicking up the dust. Eventually, I found a little gully and skulked down to observe. My little friends were carrying out a systematic search of the area.
An ancient form of air conditioning
One small passage by Omar Khayyam goes:
My Iranian holiday was a stunning, vivid holiday, which I shall look back on fondly forever.