I have been to Shiraz many times. I even lived there over a summer way back when I was immensely cute and as young. My best friend, Suzi, is a true “Shirazi” and while I was traveling in Iran a few months ago; She also happened to be there. I paid her and her dear family a short visit and was very well taken care of- as usual.

Knowing I always like to do things “differently and with a bit of twist”; my friend had organized a day driving the Northwestern territory outside Shiraz. She had asked an extremely polite and accommodating acquaintance of hers -lets call her Mr. X- to drive and guide us for the day. Being from Nur-Abad area, where we were heading, Mr. X had a thorough knowledge of the paved and not-so-paved roads. He also had valuable insight into the local culture/life/agriculture and everything in between which he generously shared with us throughout our day together. We boarded his little compact car -he called it Samand (a fast horse)- at 6 a.m. and unknowingly, set out to spend the next 12 hours driving the rough countryside.

An hour later, we left the highway and started driving on lonesome country roads. It was a great change of scenery.

We were getting very hungry and there were no stores -nor any man made structures- in sight. But no worries, Mr. X was all ready to serve us a nutritional breakfast. We pulled into a pretty field and parked under a wild almond tree. As Suzi and I got off and started taking in the semi-dry landscape of the early spring; Mr. X got busy serving the breakfast. The tiny trunk of his Samand was filled with all sorts of edible things. For now, the menu consisted of walnuts in their shells, hot tea and stale bread. We took no time in cracking the walnuts while chewing on the bread and sniffing the tea. What an unforgettable breakfast!

Mr. X even cracked the walnuts for us.

As we were munching on, a mixed herd of sheep and goats came to our view. They were all so adorable. I thought how cool it would be to have a glass of fresh warm milk as the grand finale to this memorable breakfast.

Don’t worry- I vetoed the idea before opening my mouth, thank goodness.

Snicker-ed, Suited-Up Modern Shepherd

Only the wide legged pants and the stick are authentic.

With our bellies full, we continued driving through the increasingly greener fields and meadows. The sight of dry, cracked soil next to green land and water was such a contrast.

Soon we came upon a huge and stunning field of poppies, taking me back right down to my childhood.

And then we passed by many, many more poppy fields.

I requested enough photo stops to earn an evil eye from Suzi followed by her signature index finger moving sideways. The translation being, “stop the photo shoots or else…”. So I behaved myself- for as long as I could.

It was getting warmer and warmer. With our long sleeve outfits and the scarves on our head, Suzi and I were really feeling the heat. What do you know? Mr. X had a solution for that as well! His trusted Samand took us off road down a short and steep stone/dirt road to what seemed to us to be a little piece of Paradise.

All cooled off, we started to wonder about the next meal- LUNCH. And Mr. X had special plans for that, as well!

to be continued…

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