February 8, 2023

After Iran visa drive through the hottest, most barren spot on earth, my friend Ehsan and I feel no exhaustion at all. We take a break; indeed nothing is more refreshing than a cup of Ahmad tea. A few minutes later we hit the newly constructed road to Khur and Biabanak once again, almost mesmerized looking at this wide span of desert with gently rising hills all around us. Here we see a water reservoir in the most desolated of all places. And there a triangular road sign warns drivers to beware of wandering camels that may cross the road.

The route we follow is supposed to take us to Mesr village, which is famous for its thriving camel ride tours. It was dark when we entered a wide track leading to Mesr. We had not seen a car for the last 200 kilometres and the only source of light was the car’s headlights.

As soon as we arrived in Mesr we would be looking for a man named Ali. Hopefully, he is going to provide us some food and a place to stay over night. Finding Ali wasn’t very difficult in such small place. We saw him sitting on a wooden bed outside his humble village home.

Ali was an accommodating man who seemed to have had plenty of experience living in remote areas; also quite knowledgeable about camels. As it’s customary with most villagers he greeted us with an open heart and ushered us to our room. He then brought us a glass of musk willow [1] syrup as an appetizer before each us devoured a delicious Kabab for dinner.

Oh, what great joy we experienced after the dinner as Ali was telling us his memories, unique encounters with camels and how he had come to love these creatures since growing up in this god forsaken village. He told us about the camel’s psychology, its inner characteristics.

We became more and more enthusiastic to hit the desert’s sand riding on camel’s back. It was now time to sleep but tomorrow morning we would do our first camel riding adventure over the hot and smooth surface of this sandy desert – ‘Oh god, will tomorrow ever come,’ I said to myself.

Early in the morning, Ali entered our room carrying a huge paten full of tasty dairy products, produced locally, complete with fresh vegetables and tea. What a breakfast!

Soon after eating breakfast we began to discover the village. It was so small and seemed abandoned at first. I was thinking to myself why should anybody come here to have fun when all of a sudden heard this weird hushing sound roaring behind me. I turned back and looked over my shoulder and said, ‘ oh my gush, there they are, camels.’ I must confess that in my wildest dreams I never pictured a camel as huge as the one that was present before my eyes at that time, I bet no one else did either. The camel was so tall that it was impossible to jump on its back without a ladder. I can’t tell how na├»ve I had been by picturing a Giraffe or an elephant in my little brain until I saw a Camel.

Ehsan who once had 13 camels of his own in Ghehi village didn’t seem so surprised or scared. He told me to show some courage as he dexterously sat down a smaller camel and quickly jumped on its back. Fortunately, Ali arrived and made the giant sit down so even I could climb on a camels back. I slowly picked up my trembling steps towards the behemoth as it was looking at me face to face with doubt and pessimism. I finally made it over to its back when all of a sudden it made a roar that sounded quite like a big OK to me and there it was our two-seater caravan ready to hit the desert.

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