We left Karanaq the next day calmly and raised our thumbs again, our next destination would be Shiraz, the city that every Iranian will tell you about until they are tired. The distance was long, more than 525 km and some of them on low-traffic roads, we knew that it could take longer than normal but we did not imagine that it would finally be 2 days until we would set foot in Shiraz.
We left early and we were very lucky to leave the town and return to the initial route, but little by little the lifts became less followed and the distances traveled shorter. At some point, standing at an intersection that I can’t remember, a beat-up but adorable orange truck opened its doors for us, there was Mustafa.
Mustafa still had to load the truck passes to go ahead, so he asked us if we would mind which we obviously told him no. We spent more than an hour on the truck without knowing exactly where we were going, we immediately realized the speed of our new partner, that orange bug never went more than 50 km, and that, when he accelerated. Although we only had about 400 km to get there, we realized that it would be impossible to do it during that day.
The music, their laughter and the sporadic stops to make us try all kinds of food and snacks (some delicious, another that even Jesper had a hard time digesting) accompanied us all the way. With our 10 words in Farsi (ahhh friends, the good thing about hitchhiking is that language and creativity multiply) and his non-existent English we communicated as best we could.
The day began to fall and we were not even sure if we had managed to communicate our destination correctly with Mustafa, but what we were sure of was that we would not arrive, so we started looking for places where we could sleep or put the tent outside. side of the road. What we had not understood was that Mustafa already had plans for us from the moment he got us on the truck, took us to his house to sleep, the next day he would continue with his journey to Shiraz.
We arrived at the village of Sa’adat Shahr where we bought some things to cook before making the remaining kilometer that separated him from his home. Seeing Mustafa there was the most interesting, a small town where everyone knew him and he strutted to carry us along. We passed by the bakery and the curious gathered around the truck, the word spread quickly and when we arrived at the greengrocer they were already greeting us through the windows, for 10 minutes we felt like royalty.
As soon as we arrived, a new surprise awaited us, both his mother-in-law and his mother were praying and wearing a chador to cover themselves (the whole body with a large cloth except the face), I felt a little uncomfortable, but against everything I predict the first thing that I They said is that I take off my Hijab while they told me in a mix between English, Farsi and signs something like “My faith is not yours”. When they finished their prayers they put the chador aside and got to work in the kitchen and in less than 15 minutes we were all sitting on the carpet enjoying dinner.
At his house we also met his newborn girl, and if Mustafa was a small man, he was already charming, with that girl in his arms he turned into a piece of candy. When she thought that nothing could surprise us, the mother began to breastfeed her daughter still sitting on the carpet in front of us, a woman who just 30 minutes ago covered her entire body with a chador did not seem to have any qualms about something that even in our society it remains an absurd topic of controversy.
We slept in the living room, as always with our insulators on the carpet and with some borrowed blankets on top, early the next day Mustafa took us to the intersection where the paths of the tombs of Naqsh-e Rustam and Takht-e Jamshid (the name by which locals know Persepolis) and we said goodbye with a big hug, we gave him our multipurpose tool that he seemed to enjoy throughout the trip the day before and said goodbye.
We will never forget that night at Mustafa’s house, as we have been saying since we got into this: The journey is the people.