Monday, 20 August 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 66

Day 66: Free Food and Riding Fast; From Arbab Kandi to Khalkhal in Iran 

July 5, 2012; Distance covered today: 167 Km; Total: 5435 Km

Although I was wearing my earplugs last night, I woke up a couple of times to the noise of dogs barking just outside my tent and travelers stopping for whatever reason. 

At 4 o’clock, the owner of the restaurant who also has a bakery woke me up. I packed up and bought some bread from him and left at 6. The ride started with some climbing, but after an hour it was a slight downhill all the way to Ardabil. At 9 o’clock, I arrived in Ardabil where I bought some cheese and milk, and had it with my bread when, out of curiosity, two guys stopped to talk to me. One of them was a funny man whose job was to hunt mice and sell to the laboratories. He said that Iran is a good country where you can easily make money, even by catching mice. He and the other guy invited me for lunch, but I had to get going. 

The breakfast took me 20 minutes. I started riding nonstop until 1 o’clock. While yesterday, I was entertaining the idea of getting a bus home, today, I was determined to finish the trip no matter what. I was fast and full of energy. At one, just before I turn toward the town of  Kowsar, I saw some crowd up ahead. It was a special day today, Nime- Shaban, one of the biggest holidays in Shia’a. There was free Sorba and cookie. People were dancing and having fun. I stopped and soon someone gave a bowl of Shorba. I finished it, and then there was a second, and some cake as desert. The way the people were approaching me was so funny. As usual, they thought I was not an Iranian, so they would start speaking English. There was a guy who would make fun of me and made up some kind of language just to have fun and make others laugh. After some time, it was getting too crowded. I left immediately after I finished my Shorba.
The Shorba event spot
Some kids at the event
Another free Shorba station
Some really good kids

The sun was really scorching. I could feel my skin being burned. I stopped at a gas station to wash my face and apply some new suntan lotion. I started climbing really steep roads in really hot weather. After two hours or so, I  arrived in the town of Kivi, where there was another free Shorba event. I got three bowls of Shorba this time. There were some really good kids I talked to. Around the free-Shorba station, there was lots of garbage from the disposable plastic bowls and glasses.
The road after Kivi was in a really bad condition, narrow with lots of potholes. At about 6:30, I arrived in the city of Khalkhal. As I was riding on the streets of Khalkhal to find a public park to camp for the night I saw an interesting bicycle. 
Interesting design but does it work?

I found a park where it was said lots of tourists camp at night. It was a very crowded park with lots of people hanging out. The toilets were filthy though. Some people in the park came to me to talk. I then cooked and got prepared to sleep.

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