Before we left, I almost wanted to keep our destination a secret. Because they warned me not go there because ... . I had to listen to every possible stereotype about Iran, then take a deep breath and leave. I spent a lot of time to prepare for the journey, the biggest uncertainty being the clothes. On entering the country, every girl from 9 years on has to be covered. Not the face. Just the head, shoulders, to mid thighs. We were entering the country from Turkey and on land, so I had to have suitable clothes prepared beforehand. If you could only see my two- year-old son Tristan, how he jumped from fear when he saw me covered that way. But we both gradually got used to it. Same as we had to get used to unexpectedly high temperatures, and it wasn't even summer yet. In the South-East, where the Dasht-e-Kalut desert is at its cruellest, we spent our days at sixty degrees, and the nights luckily at “mere” forty-seven.
We kept ready in case we had to flee from “dangerous” people, but, as it turned out, we only had to flee from the desert, the twenty centimeter long lethal scorpions and microscopic flies that stung like hornets. We preferred to hide from people, not because they might be dangerous but rather because they were so hospitable as to be almost too intrusive. Only a few times during our journey we gave in and let the local people take us into their homes, to their friends, for a walk through the town, serve us food and tea on a tablecloth spread on the floor, on the grass or in the centre of an empty room. In exchange we told them about ourselves, about the places we came from and those we visited along our journey. For them we were a source of information, a chance to get a glimpse into foreign, exotic places.
For the Iranians, there is only Iran, the rest of the world is out of their reach and thus completely abstract.
As abstract as their amazing, magnificent landscapes which we crossed. So vast and so unwelcoming. We wanted to cross the Namak salt lake. On the map, it looked like a miniature bean. We drove for quite a few hours but were still somewhere in the middle of the lake, there was no end to be seen. Not to mention that the lake had no water in it. Iranian lakes usually don't, but should there by mistake be any water in the middle of the lake anyway, it is so very salty and full of minerals that it is of an unimaginable colour.
Unimaginable like the whole of the country of Iran. As if it wasn't of this time and this planet. So powerful, so covered and at the same time uncovered, so hospitable and at the same time irritating. Where the soldiers offer you so much protection, nobody knows exactly whom or what from; we only knew that, thanks to that too, Iran is such an unimaginably safe country as it is unimaginably beautiful, difficult to understand and strange.
My thanks go to my family, my husband Silvo who supports me in all my projects and my children Ajda and Tristan who gladly follow us and give us indescribable joy and creative energy.