Iran has at times been a challenge with regards to cycling alone. I have dealt with this mostly by recording myself talking on a voice recorder, singing, shouting, listening to the Mighty Boosh and occasionally weeping.
However, along with feelings of lonliness which quickly evaporate I am presented with the content and playful feeling that the freedom of decisions and the imagination manifests.
There is a wonderful sense of balance with the surroundings when alone on the road amongst the exotic and mysterious landscape of the stony, dry and dusty plains of the desert reaching up to bare, steep, rocky mountains, floating gently on beds of sand dunes and haze.
As inviting as they are forboding, the mountains serve as a reminder that humans aren’t supposed to reside upon them, with the curved and interlocking formations and craggy rockfaces seemingly defying gravity protruding upwards into the cloudless thin dry air. Sand dunes are blown across the bare land and pile up against the feet of their lofty counterparts.
Pedal, freewheel, lean on the bars, sit up, listen to pendulum - in silico, richie hawtin - concept 1, Bach, Bob Marley, Stephen Fry. The mind wanders, laugh - out loud, talking, grumbling, mood plunges. Stop. Drink coffee, eat figs, pomegranite, dates, chocolate. Pump the pedals, smooth and relaxed. Get annoyed with lorries. Good Mood. Waving to people. Stop and chat to a random.
The most difficult thing I ever did was leave my girlfriend behind. I met a French couple in a camper in Armenia near the Iran border. Chatted to them, wished they would take me with them. They gave me 2 apples and a glass of French mineral water. They left and I blubbered with a mixture of desperate sadness and happiness at the freedom with which my emotions were flowing from me.
Armenia was about serious steep climbs, sweating, finally, gladly waving goodbye to the former Soviet union, kind people, poverty and such. Iran has been about kind people, delicious food, introduction to the Islamic way of life, long stretches in the desert, good roads, mud buildings, caravanserais, mosques, qanats, ice houses, fountains, incredible craftsmanship and architecture, tourists, tourists, tourists with a bizarre concept of travelling (by bus from England to Australia??- it was bad enough going to school every day). Thinking of my future, my girlfriend, friends, possibilities. Meeting wonderful ambitious, interesting, driven and exciting young Iranians and a great deal more as you can imagine. And trochaic feet, syllabic accentuation, Bob Fossil, and the synergistic interaction between mind and environment.
I am currently in a nice flat watching the Jazz channel Mezzo and just watched Jeff Mills peforming techno with the Orchestra of Montpellier which might be where I end up living for a bit. Howard (or was it Harry) Moon (or was it Spoon) would be pleased.
Good bye and good life to you all. See you next time.