To Desert or Not

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I checked out leaving the plump guy at the reception with a big smile and some of his business cards to market his hostel! I was pretty unsure whether to head to Yazd or Na’in or Varzaneh. I was anyway going to the first, 2nd was an option, the 3rd a spontaneous choice. So i got on the local bus heading to J Terminal from where inter city buses could be found for all 3.

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I had the luxury to decide until i reached and some drama took place in the interim where a lane changing car was rammed into by our bus. Surprisingly, it resulted in little commotion and people went about their business in no time…had this been in India, some people would have been martyred over broken windows. By the time I reached the ticket counter, i made up my mind to go to Abyaneh.
Since i was on a roll for being lazy, thought i might as well do so in a town/village that had little to do. Directed to a bus which was suddenly several steps down the ones i had traveled by, rather more looking blue and white vehicle with no AC stood waiting for several more like me. After a grueling 30+ minute wait, Omar Shariff walked to the bus like he was going to shoot Clint Eastwood. For 30K IRR, the 2.5 hour ride through the desert restyled my hair until we pulled into a village that had no one to be seen. And with no internet on my phone, i readied my bags and was looking out for any hint of ‘Yasna Guesthouse’. In no time i spotted a poster and frantically asked the guy to stop. By the time he hit the brakes, i was in the next village…carrying my load back to the poster, it led me further in about a 100 metres. Since i could see only doors all around and nothing that said about the hostel, i walked around like a maniac before i came back to the same spot and went further between 2 walls. I knocked several times but no response, had to be an eventful day. Fortunately, a poster next to the door had one Mohammed’s number who answered my call and spoke in good English. In no time, one Ahmed, his supposed business partner was there to open and show me in. Guess what, i was the only guest there…the guesthouse was rather large and had about 5 rooms with a lovely fountain in between with sitting areas. I negotiated the room down to about 500K for the night and Ahmed got something called a kuku sabzi (egg preparation) with naan made by his wife…he lived somewhere nearby.
The food was damn good, given the hunger that had gripped me. In the interim, one Reza, a caretaker of the hotel joined us, a 19 year old who spoke pretty good english and taught at a coaching institute in the town.
He was rather inquisitive as usual about India and riddled my lunch with questions. Ahmed offered to take me to the salt lake

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serenity

, desert, etc. but i settled only for the desert for 250K and he drove me out of the village about 8 kms to the dunes by 7 when the sun was giving away.

But before that, we hit a villager’s house which was known for a bull that worked only if you sang! quite a demanding animal…anyway it was worth 50K. The old man greeted us and got the bull to fetch water while he sang some folk songs. i would say you can skip it.
Back to desert, the dunes were pretty high and the climb was tougher than i imagined, towards the top, i had to be helped by Ahmed. We sat around till the sun set and spoke and spoke while the winds swept every grain of sand into every possible crevice of my clothes and bags.
At around 830 we made our way back to the hotel where i was greeted with a Kashke Badamjaan for dinner while being entertained by my 2 hosts. They left the place to me after dinner and scooted
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try staying alone here

I spent some time chatting with folks back home trying not to see the moving curtains in some of the rooms, man it bloody spooked me. I almost turned into a believer that night. Edging my way to each switch to turn off the lights in the place, i made my way back to the room which was pretty warm. A little hole in the ceiling for sunlight kept me company.