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20/03/2011 – Siyah Chaman to Miyaneh – New years anticipation

May 31, 2011
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The obligatory photo of everyone in the morning is gatecrashed by lots of random people who arrive just as the tripod is set up, eager to be involved. With our bags stuffed full with tins of aubergine, tomatoes and tuna, Mohammed marched each of us individually to the store cupboard and ensured that we had enough sustenance for the coming weeks, we head to Miyaneh.

Picnics are a big deal in Iran, its normal to see car parked just at the side of the road with a family sat around a flimsy fabric tent, bowls full of salads, a huge tea pot and the Qalan (Shisha) bubbling away whilst numerous kebabs are sizzling on the bbq. New years eve is even more reason to load up the car and we see scores people picnicking on our way to Miyaneh, where we plan to stop for the night and get involved in some New year’s celebrations.

Parking your car over a moving water source and giving it a thorough clean is something I have only ever seen Iranians do and what better way to bring in the New Year than with a spanking clean motor. I spot one such family, all kitted out with wellingtons, the car parked diagonally across a small river with all doors open, busily bringing the car back to its birth state. The three of us watch this phenomena from the road which passes over the river until we’re ushered down towards the car by the father. He stokes up a small fire away from the car and puts the blackened kettle on top whilst he tells us that he has to drive all over the country to visit relatives.

Hoping to get involved in some street parties or some such celebration Miyaneh is disappointingly flat. The parks have a few people sauntering around but the streets don’t feel full of anticipation or party atmosphere. We opt not to camp in the park, despite being told it would be fine, in order to increase our chances of not being disturbed by curious revelers once we did decide to turn in, and instead opted for a small local hotel which gave us a free dinner, some nuts and $2. 2am is the turn of the New year but we’re tucked up in bed by that point, the streets we’re empty of people and there wasn’t a sound. New year seems to be a family occasion and one which is celebrated in the privacy of the home, not a raucous street party we had hoped for.

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