Wiki Info Kerman
Mehdi came to our hotel with his friend, Hosen, our driver of yesterday who then drove us to the bus station. Hosen is a football coach/instructor...would have liked to talk more with him but he doesn't speak English though I think understands a bit. The bus is a VIP one, very cushy with wide, spacious (3 across) but very uncomfortable seats. The travel time was 8 hours to Kerman and took us through a wide variety of terrain including a mountain pass, but first we passed Lake Bakhtegan a huge salt lake that looks to have dropped considerably from its normal level. Wiki Info Bakhtegan Lake
Next, we went thru a wide agricultural plain, Quayjam, mostly growing wheat, almonds, pomegranates, and goats. Mehdi tells us Iran has been suffering from 7 years of drought and this valley certainly shows it. Holding 'tanks' or small reservoirs are all dry/empty even though Mehdi said this past winter was a wet one. The wheat especially shows the lack of moisture, already turning golden tan and very short stalks. Over into the next valley the major crop and even up on the mountain sides is figs, thousands of fig trees. Once we cross the high desert, which incidentally was very green and had standing water at a summit of sorts, we came down into a very dry desert where the only crop we saw was pistachios. Apparently they only need to water pistachios 4 times a year! We stopped for a toilet break and the wind was ferocious, a major dust/sandstorm. Mehdi says this has only become commonplace within the last 5 years with the dust coming from Saudi Arabia - he says.
Arriving at 4:45 in the pm, we take a taxi from bus stop to Akhavan Hotel right on a main thoroughfare where we are served tea whilst Medhi takes care of check in. Ya know I could get used to this kind of travel I think, ha! Real nice accommodations, very similar to Arg Hotel in Shiraz.
Went to Bootiya Garden... Wiki Info Persian Gardens
in the Zoroaster district of German...another friend of Mehdi, Reza, our driver. Met Mr. Vatani who has been a guide since early 1970s, leading trips out into the desert where there are huge numbers of tall natural sand sculptures. Our dinner was traditional Iranian kababs with salad and all the trimmings. We are discovering that Iranians love their salads, use many types of greens but especially lettuce with great tomatoes, cucs, onions, cabbage, etc. Of course, it helps that we're here in spring when veggies are plentiful. Lots of fruits available as well, it's melon time too!