I had never much cared about human interaction during a trip as I used to be more immersed in the landscape beauty. But during this entire trip of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, it was these moments of interaction with the local people that were the special moments of this trip.
Iran – a country that is rich with architecture and landscape beauty but the most beautiful thing in Iran are the people of Iran. If you go to Iran and don’t interact with the Iranians, you are missing out on the main beauty of Iran. I think the people of Iran are couchsurfing hosts by default. Such is their hospitality that we got invited almost every place we went. You can visit this country just to meet the people of this country. And couchsurfing in Iran is definitely one of the best ways to experience it.
I was very lucky to get this chance as my co-travellers cut short the trip by 1 week. So, the last week in Iran, I was eating, living, and travelling with Iranians. And it turned out to be the best week of the trip.
Some of the amazing people that I met in Iran:
Masood – My host in Shiraz. We officially met through couchsurfing. But when my friends returned to India, I was in a fix as there was no one to share the car rent and other expenses. But Masood stepped in and told me, “Just come here brother and I will take care of everything.” And he not only hosted but took me to Persepolis, Yazd, and Isfahan in his uncle’s car. One of the best road trips of my life.
Mahdi – my host and this is his family in Tabriz. This was my first experience of CouchSurfing in Iran. I was supposed to stay in house for couple of days but unfortunately I couldn’t because of some last minute change in plans. They invited me for dinner and prepared a local cuisine – ‘Abgosht’ for me. The warmth and hospitality shown by them was unbelievable. I felt like I am spending time with my own family. It was the one of the best moments of the trip. It was very difficult to bid them goodbye.
I had a very short interaction with this guy in Qazvin for just 10-15 mins. But it was an interesting 10-15 mins. I went to his shop to buy something. He recognized that I was from India and asked me if I had any Indian currency note. I gave him a 10 rupee note. He immediately recognized Mahatma Gandhi. Never in my life I had seen anybody getting so excited after seeing a picture of Gandhi. He called his wife from inside and like a small kid who had just got a new toy , he was shouting in joy – “Gandhi, Gandhi.” He invited me to have lunch with him but unfortunately I could not accept as I was really short on time and had to reach somewhere. But it was a very special experience and still brings a smile to me when I think about it.
Mahdi – my host in Isfahan. It was such a joy talking to this guy. We talked about many issues – politics, culture in India and Iran, women of India and Iran but his most amazing gesture was when Masood, my friend from Shiraz started talking to Mahdi in Farsi and Mahdi stopped him and said “Vaibhav doesn’t understand Farsi, so it is rude of us to talk in our own language in front of him.” I was speechless. Who thinks like that today!!!