Kerman is one the oldest cities in Iran. Not only it is the largest carpet producing and exporting center in Iran, but also a large producer of pistachios on the world market. Kerman is considered a paradise for paleontologist due to its abundance of vertebrate-fossils from different geological eras.
I took a 7-hours day bus ride from Shiraz to Kerman. My CS host, Abozar, picked me up at the bus terminal in the evening just right before Iftar (the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset). Abozar told me that tonight’s Iftar will be a feast as his wife’s family will be coming over to his place. I was pretty excited about it as it is my first Iftar with an Iranian family! ?
I was greeted by Abozar’s shy and petite wife, Maryam, at the house as she does not speak English. She started serving me mint tea and zoolbia bamieh (Iranian sweets and it’s one of my favorites!) I tried to help with dinner but she made me sit and switched on Korean drama in Farsi. ? As the family starts to make their way into the house, I was introduced by Abozar to them. As expected, they look at me curiously and too shy to talk to me. Only when an 11-year old boy came to converse with me in English and the fun starts.
I soon came to realize that having a meal with Iranian family can be very very filling. ? The different dishes were been laid on the carpet and everyone will sit on the floor to eat. There will be rice cooked with saffron (a kind of spice from flower), bread (which looks like naan), chicken/beef/mutton (usually one will be fried or grilled and the other will cook with gravy), salad, mint leaves for you to chew with the food, yoghurt drink and pudding!
After the feast, the women will clear the plates and do the washing whereas the men will be discussing about current affairs. Tea and fruits will be served once the dishes are being done. Fruits served in Summer are mainly cherries, peach, apricot, rock melon, watermelon, cucumbers and apples. When everyone is done with the fruits, it’s time for ice cream! ? By now, it’s usually around 12am-1am. By the time back to home is around 3am+ and Maryam will start prepare for breakfast and after that go to mosque to do her prayer. I’m somehow glad that I was here during the Ramadan period to experience another kind of lifestyle from the norm.
I spent another three days staying with Abozar and Maryam. When he was working, I spent the day time with Maryam at her parents’ place, helping to do some housework or babysitting the kids while the adults are doing their prayers. One of the days I went to explore Ganjali Khan Square, one of the biggest covered bazaar in Iran and Ganjali Khan Mosque which built in 1007 A.H. At night, they will bring me to other relatives house for Iftar.
On my last day, Abozar took leave from work and drove me out of Kerman to visit nearby counties. We first visited Shazdeh garden which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mahan and further up to Rayen to see waterfall.
Shazdeh Garden, Mahan
Located in Mahan, 35km Southeast of Kerman (approximately 45-minutes drive), Shazdeh Garden is the ninth Iranian Garden registered on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. As the name suggested in Persian, the garden was once the Summer residence of a prince. The entrance of Garden consists of a two-storied building which the second floor was used as living quarters and for receiving guests. The entrance fee to visit the garden is 200,000Rial.
After 2-hours exploring Shazdeh Garden, we drove another 45-minutes to Rayen. Rayen Waterfall as the “River of Gold” known, is one of the attraction and the most beautiful and glorious mountain routes in Kerman province of Iran.
I was pretty amazed by the cool weather in this small town despite being located near the desert. Abozar told me that this area will snow during Winter. Imagine desert and snow, how cool is that!! ? There were families from other cities drove all the way up here to escape the heat of Summer, and I believe the mountainous scenery and cool weather made the drive totally worth it.
On my last day, Maryam packed biscuits and fruits for my journey to the next city. It is a tradition for Iranian as host to prepare food for their leaving guests. Abozar drove me to the bus terminal as I will be meeting my next CS host from Rafsanjan there.
Simin and Hossein drove about 1-hour with their 9-months old daughter to Kerman just to pick me up back to Rafsanjan. ? Honestly, there are nothing much to do in Rafsanjan but I chose to make this detour to “take a break” from the long trip. This couple is so awesomely sweet and I really enjoyed my 3-days stay with them.
Simin took me to her French lesson where we had so much fun. I was enjoying myself being lost in the languages of Farsi and French, while Simin trying to do translation in English for me. The lesson was on facial features and the teacher wanted us to describe each other features. I only remembered just laughing throughout the whole lesson. That night we went to Simin’s uncle place for Iftar which was a 45-minutes drive from her house. It was a very small town with no mobile signal.
On the following day, Simin was inviting her friends over for Iftar. We went grocery shopping during the noon driving around from one shop to another (’cause there isn’t supermarket around the area) to find the ingredients need for dinner. By the time we reached home, Hossein ended his work and started preparing the dough for pizza! I helped to dice the vegetables for the pizza, and entertained Reha while the couple busied themselves in the kitchen.
Simin and Hossein’s friends whom I met were from university so they were able to converse English with me. They are very funny and open-minded Iranians whom I enjoyed talking with for hours. Through them I got to learn about the younger generation’s thinking of living in Iran. I understand that Simin is very active in Couchsurfing because it is not easy for them to travel out of the country. With such kind hospitality, I am definitely going back to visit them again.
- Bus from Shiraz to Kerman: 150,000 Rial (USD 4)
- Food: Free
- Accommodation: Free
- Shazdeh Garden: 200,000 Rial (USD 6)