I could not sleep beyond 930 despite wanting to, the room was just too damn warm. Breakfast was decent and Reza came with a surprise. It seems there was a funeral of some dead soldier to be held, which was apparently a sight. I didn’t understand much of what he said but decided to check it out for myself. He took me there on his bike and we parked somewhere on the main road before walking to catch up with a big crowd that was carrying 2 coffins and chanting not so nice stuff about other countries.
The procession was led by a cop car followed by a big vehicle that had speakers mounted on it. Making use of the speakers was a guy chanting some prayers with army men and civvies joining in too. While most of it sounded religious, it veered into ‘maqbar amreeka’, ‘maqbar saood’, ‘maqbar yisraeel’ which clearly did not mean the 3 were wished well. And this was confirmed by Reza who said they are basically wishing ill for America, Israel and Saudi.
Sentiments ran high and somehow I felt bad for the dead. Turns out, when the army goes into the desert and finds remnants of lost soldiers, they bring it back to the nearest village to give an honourable exit to these anonymous souls. It was something interesting and new to me. Anyhow, curious onlookers figured I was alien, not that it changed anything. I just didn’t want to be the outsider there bu things were fine. The procession moved to the Jameh mosque where the last rites were to be conducted before burial at the ziarat (tomb) instead of the cemetery which came as a surprise to me. The fallen soldiers are given the highest status clearly.
The whole crowd began dispersing and the final prayers were visited by a few only. So I decided to make a move as the Friday prayers were to begin and Reza had already warned me that nothing would be found on the roads except maybe private cars. And there was no away I wanted to be roasted in the heat for another day there. But it was surprising that public transport was shut on that day. I had to get to an ancient town called Yazd which was to be next stop. Can really get tough I tell you unless you are in a bigger town. So this was to be my first proper hitchhike I could say and that too in Iran!
I picked up my bags from the hostel and pillion riding with Reza, he dropped me off on the highway with 2 phrases to make my way ahead, ‘mikham barin Na’in (i am going to Na’in) and Ra’i ghane (is it free)’. I hope the phrases are correct, anyway they got me through so I wouldn’t be too worried about their accuracy.
Loaded with the 2 most powerful sentences for any hitchhiker (not that i was a champion at this), I waved to 3 cars before the 4th one stopped. I chanted as taught and the person asked me where I was from, in Farsi though. He beamed like a bulb when he heard I was from Hindustan. Without a thought, he ushered me in and we set off to Na’in. We tried to talk but in vain and then resorted to painting the lovely desert route with loud Farsi music. And thank the heavens, the car had a working airconditioner.
70 kms into the drive, we reached the city where he dropped me off on the highway saying my bus to Yazd would pass through the route. I had hoped I would loiter around the town which too had some interesting attractions but that would be another journey altogether. So my hopes of seeing Na’in were crushed and there was no way I was dragging myself into the town with the heat, my 2 backpacks and lack of transport.
I waited for a few minutes and waved down a VIP bus that was going to Yazd. For 100K, 2 odd hours and a nice nap after all the effort riding on the sun, we arrived near the Yazd bus terminal. I got off a bit earlier at the round about and bargained a taxi for 50K to drop me till Jameh mosque near which my hostel was to be. God knows what happened, he dropped me at the Daulat Abad Gardens which was a bit off and i walked a good 3 kms to reach my hostel.
The high mud walls of Yazd came to life and I had made it.